Mississippian Epoch

Age of weedy pteridosperms and early tetrapods

The Mississippian (358.9–323 Ma) is a time period that demarcates the early Carboniferous, occurring after the Late Devonian, and before the Pennsylvanian (or Late Carboniferous)

Geologic Age

  • 358.9323.2 Ma


Eon / Era / Period / Epoch

What happened during this time?


  • The climate in the Early Mississippian is hot and warm but becomes cooler and wetter toward the end

  • The Epoch begins with carbon dioxide levels around 3,500 ppm, and ends with ~700 ppm

  • Oxygen levels are some of the highest at around 31.9%




  • Terrestrial invertebrates increase in new niches created by plants

  • Tetrapods radiate extensively, especially the Whatcheeriidae and Crassigyrinidae

    • The first 15 million years of the Carboniferous had very limited terrestrial fossils, known as Romer's gap

    • There is decrease of the Devonian fish-like ichthyostegalian labyrinthodonts, and an increase in the temnospondyl and reptiliomorphan amphibians

  • Detritivores pervasive with herbivory beginning at the end of Mississippian