Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Geologic Time The Story of a Changing Earth
Presented by the Department of Paleobiology.
The Permian
Contents
Overview
Terrestrial Animal Life and Evolution of Herbivores
Permian Terrestrial Floras
The Marine Realm and The End-Permian Extinction
, Climate, and the Formation of Pangea
Evidence
Late Permian brachiopods
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sample
Permian reef
Dimetrodon
Ophiacodon
Labidosaurus
Edaphosaur
Cotylorhynchus
Brachiopod
references and links
Foundational Concepts
Dating Methods
Earth Processes
Life Processes
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Tectonics, Climate, and the Formation of Pangea
The southern ice cap melted off permanently during the earliest Permian. The supercontinent of Pangea was nearly fully assembled by the end of the period, with only North and South China and Cimmeria remaining unattached to the east. An open gulf called the Paleo-Tethys Ocean formed along Pangea’s eastern margin. The total length of shorelines continued to be reduced as the major landmasses coalesced, and shallow seas decreased as sea level dropped. The salty, inland Zechstein Sea occupied much of Europe.

Throughout these events, the Permian world saw a gradual warming in climate. There was steep climatic zonation despite temperatures being warmer than during the Pennsylvanian. Swampy tropical forests gave way to more arid environments. The dry continental interiors (now very large on the supercontinent of Pangea) experienced great seasonality, and the polar regions were barren tundras. Glaciers were also present at these high latitudes. Nonetheless, many animals were spread across wide regions of the globe in each climatic area.



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Overview | Terrestrial Animal Life and Evolution of Herbivores | Permian Terrestrial Floras
The Marine Realm and The End-Permian Extinction | Tectonics, Climate, and the Formation of Pangea



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