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Challenges and Opportunities of the Terrestrial Environment

Life originated in water, and for the most part it has stayed there. Beginning about 700 million years ago, however, living things began to move out of the water and onto land. The migration started with algae and other primitive plants, like mosses, but more complicated organisms, including animals, began moving onto land not long after, about 500 million years ago.

Like birth, the move onto land puts organisms into a radically different physical environment. Often, these differences impose severe challenges to survival. At the same time, the new environment must offer opportunities with high payoffs to the organisms successfully making the transition.

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