Geological history of the Earth: the Triassic period

Geological history of the Earth: the Triassic period


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The Triassic period spanned from 252 to 201 million years ago (approximately), just before the Jurassic period, dividing into three main epochs: Early, Middle and Late.

This period falls between two mass extinctions classified within the "five great extinctions": the Permian-Triassic and that of Triassic-Jurassic.

The early Triassic

The early Triassic (252 to 247 million years), was dominated by deserts in the interior of the supercontinent Pangea and where the Earth had just suffered the Permian mass extinction where 95% of life on the planet was extinguished.

The most common vertebrate life during this period was that of lystrosaurus, labyrinthodontia, and euparkeria, along with other creatures that managed to survive the previous extinction.

Temnospondyls like Eryops they evolved during this time and were the dominant predators for much of the Triassic.

The middle Triassic

The Middle Triassic (247 to 237 million years) coincides with the beginning of the pangea break and the opening of the Sea of ​​Thetis.

The ecosystems had recovered from the Permian extinction; Algae, sponges, corals and crustaceans recovered and new species of aquatic reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and noosaurs evolved.

In land, pine forests flourished, groups of insects such as mosquitoes or fruit flies became overcrowded, and reptiles began to grow more and more.

The first crocodiles evolved, prompting competition with large amphibians that had previously dominated freshwater ecosystems.

The late Triassic

The late Triassic (237 to 201 million years) occurs after the enormous flowering of the previous period, and is characterized by frequent temperature rises and moderate rainfall.

This warming led to rise of the evolution of reptiles on land, as the first dinosaurs, such as pterosaurs, began to evolve.

During this time, some advanced cynodonts gave rise to the first Mammaliaforms, tetrapods considered mammals.

But nevertheless, this climate change led to a great extinction known as the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction, in which many arosaci, except pterosaurs, dinosaurs, and crocodylomorphs), most synapsids, and almost all large amphibians became extinct, along with 34% of marine life.

The causes are still under discussion, although basalt eruptions in the Central Atlantic are taken as a plausible hypothesis.

Dinosaurs of the Triassic period

You may also be interested in:

The Phanerozoic eon
The Mezosoic era
The Jurassic period
The Cretaceous period
Dinosaur Dictionary

Images: Shutterstock

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