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By carboniferous [carbon bearing] soils, Richard Kirwan in 1799 meant the "various sorts of earth or stone among or under which coal is usually found".
2,500,000,000 to 542,000,000 years ago The Proterozoic Eon: the most recent part of the Precambrian Supereon.
All of the major animal groups of the Ordovician oceans survived, including trilobites, "When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.
Judging from the past we may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to distant futurity." (Charles Darwin) From primal swamp to speaking humans: Ernst Haeckel said (1903) that the Pithecoiden (monkey) theory of human evolution requires tracing our animal ancestors before monkeys.
372,200,000 to 358,900 years ago Famennian age of the separated by about 10 million years.
About 375 million years ago, towards the end of a time interval called the Givetian.
They said "the epithet carboniferous is of obvious application to this series".