The Devonian is the period of the Paleozoic era from about 419 million years ago (mya) to about 359 mya.[1] It is named after Devonshire, England, where rocks from this period were first studied.

Sea levels were high, and there was a great variety of fish and other marine organisms.[2] The Devonian fish included the Agnatha (jawless fish), the Acanthodii (spiny fish), the Placoderms (armoured fish), the Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish), and the early Osteichthyes (bony fish). The Devonian strata are divided into lower, middle and upper subdivisions.

During the Devonian the evolution of fish into tetrapods occurred.[3] Various terrestrial arthropods also became established. The first seed-bearing plants spread across dry land, forming huge forests.

Tectonic and volcanic activity was high. A series of extinction events occurred towards the end of the Devonian, including a major event at the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in the Late Devonian, about 364 mya. The supercontinent Pangaea was just starting to form.


  1. Gradstein, Felix M. Ogg J.G. Smith A.G. 2000. A geologic time scale 2004. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn"..
  2. The Devonian is sometimes called the Age of Fish.
  3. see Tetrapod#fishapods for discussion and references.

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