Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
1400 – 1200 Ma
Stratigraphic unitSystem
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionDefined chronometrically
Lower GSSA ratified1991[1]
Upper boundary definitionDefined chronometrically
Upper GSSA ratified1991[1]

The Ectasian Period (from

Mya to 1200 Mya (million years ago). Instead of being based on stratigraphy, these dates are defined chronometrically

Geologically the name refers to the continued expansion of

platform covers
during this period. In the early Ectasian period, a day was 17 hours and 32 minutes. At the end of the Ectasian, it was 18 hours and 28 minutes.

This period is interesting for the first evidence of sexual reproduction. The 1.2 billion years old

Bangiomorpha pubescens (type of red algae), the first taxonomically resolved eukaryote. This was the first organism that exhibited sexual reproduction, which is an essential feature for complex multicellularity. Complex multicellularity is different from "simple" multicellularity, such as colonies of organisms living together. True multicellular organisms contain cells that are specialized for different functions. This is, in fact, an essential feature of sexual reproduction as well, since the male and female gametes
are specialized cells. Organisms that reproduce sexually must solve the problem of generating an entire organism from just the germ cells.

Sexual reproduction and the ability of gametes to develop into an organism are the necessary antecedents to true multicellularity. In fact, we tend to think of sexual reproduction and true multicellularity as occurring at the same time, and true multicellularity is often taken as a marker for sexual reproduction.

See also

  • Boring Billion – Earth history, 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago
  • Jotnian – Oldest known sediments in the Baltic area that have not been subject to metamorphism
  • Riphean (stage) – stage in the geological timescale named after the Urals


  • "Mesoproterozoic Era". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  • James G. Ogg (2004). "Status on Divisions of the International Geologic Time Scale". Lethaia. 37 (2): 183–199. .