Biogeography And Paleogeography

Biogeography is the study of the geographic distribution of plants and animals, and paleogeography is the study of the past distribution of plants, animals, landmasses, mountains, basins, and climate belts. The distribution of organisms may be explained by one of two general theories. The dispersal theory in biogeography states that a specific group of organisms was created at an initial center spot and radiated outward, during which time specific lineages evolved as they migrated. An alternative model is called vicariance biogeography, where initially primitive groups were widely distributed and were broken up by processes such as rifting and divergent plate tectonics, leading to evolution in individual isolated groups. Both examples have been shown to explain the distribution of species in different cases.

In the following sections of this entry the principles of historical geology and stratigraphy are used to discuss a brief history of the planet Earth and life. The discussion is focused mostly on North America and events that affected North America, but examples from around the planet are brought in to the discourse as appropriate.

Continue reading here: Precambrian geologic history

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