(Disclaimer: I do not take a solid position whether the earth is old or young, nor is it relevant. This post is just here to demonstrate the power of associative learning, especially mnemonic devices. Also, I am not a paleontologist or geologist, so don’t assume any scholarly accuracy on my post!)
You may think I’m nuts, but this mnemonic literally rocks!
It stands for, in backward chronological order, for Permian, Carboniferous, Devonian, Silurian, Ordovician, and Cambrian, the six periods of the Paleozoic era. Broadly, this is life before the dinosaurs, who ruled the Mesozoic era. Next (the era we live in now, according to evolutionary theory) is the Cenozoic, which is basically the time of modern life (especially humankind).
With mnemonic and other associative methods of learning, you can retain information better. For example, with the Silurian (which started 430 MYA, according to an old earth), you could use the number 430 and make a statement like “it’s silly to get up before 4:30 am,” a way of relating the two.
Or, for the Cambrian, starting 570 MYA, you could consider the idea of the 570 area code of Pennsylvania, and Cambria County (which is not in 570 area code; if you were wondering, it’s in 814). But by associating Pennsylvania, a county therein, and one of the state’s area codes, it may be easier to remember.
Mnemonics, don’t you just love them?