The era of geologic time from about 540 to 245 million years ago. The beginning of the Paleozoic Era is characterized by a great diversity of marine invertebrate animals. Primitive fish and reptiles, land plants, and insects also first appeared during this time. The end of the Paleozoic is marked by the largest recorded mass extinction in the Earth's history, which wiped out nearly 90% of known marine life forms. See Chart at geologic time.