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What was it like in the Permian deserts?

Amphibians and reptiles of the Early Permian Period. In the foreground is Cacops, a 40-cm-long (16-inch) amphibian. On the...Read More >>Amphibians and reptiles of the Early Permian Period. In the foreground is Cacops, a 40-cm-long (16-inch) amphibian. On the opposite bank of the stream is Casea, one of a group of reptiles called pelycosaurs.During the Permian Period, which began 299 million years ago, the rainy, tropical jungle of the Carboniferous disappeared. The Permian world was one of dry scrublands and deserts. Large amphibians, which needed to spend time in the water, died out, while reptiles multiplied. Many reptiles evolved powerful jaws, enabling them to feed on tough desert plants.



Dimetrodon basks in the heat of the Permian desert.

Pelycosaurs

Some Permian reptiles, like Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus, were three-metre-long (10-foot) giants. They belonged to a group of reptiles called pelycosaurs. Rising from their backs were “sails” of skin, held up by long, thin spines. These sails may have helped the animals heat up or cool down quickly.

Therapsids

The Permian is named after the region around Perm, near the Ural Mountains in Russia.

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