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Triassic Period

OLogy Series
paleontology
card
262

Triassic Period

OLogy Series
paleontology

Earth was a very different place at the beginning of the Triassic. All of Earth's continents were combined into one supercontinent called Pangaea. And over 95% of the world's species became extinct in the largest mass extinction ever in history. A lot would change over the next 50 million years. Pangaea began to spread apart, and surviving species spread out and diversified as new ones evolved, including the first dinosaurs.

The interior of Pangaea was hot and desert like, while the regions farthest north and south had:

polar climates

hot, dry climates

warm, wet climates

Are you right?

Correct!

Scientists believe these regions had wet, warm climates, with forests of conifers, horsetails, and ferns.

Many animals appeared during the Triassic, such as pterosaurs, turtles, crocodiles, and dinosaurs. Another group to appear were the:

first mammals

first sharks

first human ancestors

Are you right?

Correct!

Small, nocturnal mammals began to appear during this period. The first sharks appeared about 200 million years earlier, and the first human ancestors would not appear until 175 million years after the Triassic.

Dinosaurs dominated the Earth during most of the Triassic Period.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Dinosaurs did not appear until the end of the Triassic, and even then they were dominated by crocodilian relatives.

In the Late Triassic, pangaea broke apart into the seven continents we know today.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Pangaea began to break apart into two large continents: Gondwana (South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia) and Laurasia (North America, Europe, and Asia).

Triassic Period
When: 250-200 million years ago (Mesozoic Era)
Name origin: "Tri" is Latin for three, for the three rock layers from this period found in Germany.
Biological events: Mass extinctions at beginning and end of Triassic; appearance of first turtles, frogs, crocodiles, flying pterosaurs, small mammals, and early dinosaurs
Geological events: Pangaea began to split into two landmasses during the Late Triassic

Image credits: courtesy of Giant Screen Films.