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Early life

Permian Period

Cacops, a predatory amphibianCacops, a predatory amphibian During the Permian Period (299–252 million years ago), the humid, tropical forests of the Carboniferous gave way to vast, dry scrublands and deserts. Large amphibians, dependent on water for breeding, started to die out, while reptiles multiplied. Their ability to lay eggs on land allowed them to thrive in dry environments. They also developed powerful jaws, which enabled them to eat tough desert plants. Reptiles of all kinds dominated the parched Permian world. Some species, such as Mesosaurus, adapted to life in the sea and began a long period when marine reptiles ruled supreme in the oceans.


Permian world

During the Permian Period, much of the world’s land formed a single “supercontinent” called Pangaea. Southern Pangaea lay across the South Pole and was covered by a massive ice cap. A great deal of the Earth’s water was locked up in the ice. This meant that for the rest of the world the climate became very dry. With such a large, single landmass, there were extreme variations of hot and cold—and highly seasonal rainfall. The lush swamp forests of the Carboniferous were replaced in northern tropical regions of Pangaea by conifers, ginkgo, cycads, seed ferns and other drought-resistant plants.The world in the Permian PeriodThe world in the Permian Period

Skull of anapsid (1), synapsid (2) and diapsid (3)Skull of anapsid (1), synapsid (2) and diapsid (3)

Reptile types

The Permian is named after the region around Perm, near the Ural Mountains in Russia, known as the Principality of Great Perm in medieval times.

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