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About 290 million years ago, the Carboniferous period ended and the Permian period began. Almost all of the land on Earth grouped together in one big supercontinent we call Pangaea, which reached all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole. With all the land grouped together, the climate got drier. That was bad for water-loving plants and animals like ferns and frogs. But it was good for dry land plants and animals, so there got to be a lot more dry land creatures. The first reptiles were already living on land, but during the Permian period there got to be many more reptiles, and more different kinds of reptiles.

Pine tree forest

Pine trees in Colorado

At the same time, more and more pine trees also spread all over the land. It was easy for these trees and reptiles to spread over all of the land, because it was all joined together in one big continent.

At the end of the Permian period, about 248 million years ago, there was an even bigger catastrophe than ever before. This may have been a giant volcanic explosion in what is now Siberia. It wiped out more than 95 percent of all life in the oceans, and about 70 percent of life on land, both plants and animals. This catastrophe is the end of the Permian period, and the next period is the Triassic period.

Learn by doing: pine cones
More about volcanoes
And more about pine trees
More about Pangaea and plate tectonics
Go on to the Triassic Era

Bibliography and further reading about the Permian period and geology:

Go on to the Triassic Era
List of Geological Eras home