Portal:Triassic

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The Triassic Portal

Herrerasaurus BW.jpg

Introduction

The Triassic ( /trˈæsɪk/) is a geologic period and system which spans 50.6 million years from the end of the Permian Period 251.9 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Jurassic Period 201.3 Mya. The Triassic is the first period of the Mesozoic Era. Both the start and end of the period are marked by major extinction events.

The Triassic began in the wake of the Permian–Triassic extinction event, which left the Earth's biosphere impoverished; it would take well into the middle of this period for life to recover its former diversity. Therapsids and archosaurs were the chief terrestrial vertebrates during this time. A specialized subgroup of archosaurs, called dinosaurs, first appeared in the Late Triassic but did not become dominant until the succeeding Jurassic Period.

The first true mammals, themselves a specialized subgroup of therapsids, also evolved during this period, as well as the first flying vertebrates, the pterosaurs, who, like the dinosaurs, were a specialized subgroup of archosaurs. The vast supercontinent of Pangaea existed until the mid-Triassic, after which it began to gradually rift into two separate landmasses, Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south.

The global climate during the Triassic was mostly hot and dry, with deserts spanning much of Pangaea's interior. However, the climate shifted and became more humid as Pangaea began to drift apart. The end of the period was marked by yet another major mass extinction, the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event, that wiped out many groups and allowed dinosaurs to assume dominance in the Jurassic.

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Selected article on the Triassic world and its legacies

Artist's restoration of Pterodactylus.
Pterosaurs were flying reptiles of the clade or order Pterosauria. They existed from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous Period (228 to 66 million years ago). Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight. Their wings were formed by a membrane of skin, muscle, and other tissues stretching from the ankles to a dramatically lengthened fourth finger. Early species had long, fully toothed jaws and long tails, while later forms had a highly reduced tail, and some lacked teeth. Many sported furry coats made up of hair-like filaments known as pycnofibres, which covered their bodies and parts of their wings. Pterosaurs spanned a wide range of adult sizes, from the very small Nemicolopterus to the largest known flying creatures of all time, including Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx.

Pterosaurs are often referred to in the popular media and by the general public as flying dinosaurs, but this is incorrect. However, like the dinosaurs, pterosaurs are more closely related to birds than to any living reptile. Pterosaurs are also incorrectly referred to as pterodactyls, particularly by journalists. "Pterodactyl" refers specifically to members of the genus Pterodactylus, and more broadly to members of the suborder Pterodactyloidea of the pterosaurs. (see more...)

Did you know?

Fossil of Prolystra lithographica.
  • ... that fossils of extinct giant cicadas (pictured) were once misidentified as the oldest known butterflies?
  • ... that a fossilized dragon has been found in Poland?
  • ... that the Triassic archosaur Poposaurus walked on two legs like some dinosaurs, but was more closely related to crocodiles?
  • ... that before modern paleontology came about, fossils of Encrinus went by a number of names in Germany, including "sun wheels", "Saint Boniface's pennies", and "witches' money"?
  • ... that fossils of the extinct reptile Acallosuchus were found in a cigar box in 1983?

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Reconstructed skeleton of Smok wawelski at the University of Warsaw.

Reconstructed skeleton of Smok wawelski at the University of Warsaw.
Photo credit: User:Panek

Selected article on the Triassic in human science, culture and economics

A Marella fossil.
Paleontology or palaeontology (/ˌpliɒnˈtɒləi, ˌpæli-, -ən-/) is the scientific study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). As a "historical science" it attempts to explain causes rather than conduct experiments to observe effects. Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. The term itself originates from Greek: παλαιός (palaios) meaning "old, ancient," ὄν, ὀντ- (on, ont-), meaning "being, creature" and λόγος (logos), meaning "speech, thought, study".

Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology. It now uses techniques drawn from a wide range of sciences, including biochemistry, mathematics and engineering. Use of all these techniques has enabled paleontologists to discover much of the evolutionary history of life, almost all the way back to when Earth became capable of supporting life, about 3,800 million years ago. As knowledge has increased, paleontology has developed specialized sub-divisions, some of which focus on different types of fossil organisms while others study ecology and environmental history, such as ancient climates. Body fossils and trace fossils are the principal types of evidence about ancient life, and geochemical evidence has helped to decipher the evolution of life before there were organisms large enough to leave fossils. (see more...)

Geochronology

Epochs - Early Triassic - Middle Triassic - Late Triassic
Stages - Induan - Olenekian - Anisian - Ladinian - Carnian - Norian - Rhaetian
Events - Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event - Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event - Taconic orogeny - Late Ordovician glaciation - Alice Springs Orogeny - Ordovician–Silurian extinction event

Landmasses - Baltica - Gondwana - Laurentia - Siberia
Bodies of water - Iapetus Ocean - Khanty Ocean - Proto-Tethys Ocean - Rheic Ocean - Tornquist Sea - Ural Ocean
Animals - Articulate brachiopods - Bryozoans - Cornulitids - Crinoids - Cystoids - Gastropods - Graptolites - Jawed fishes - Nautiloids - Ostracoderms - Rugose corals - Star fishes - Tabulate corals - Tentaculitids - Trilobites
Trace fossils - Petroxestes - Trypanites
Plants - Marchantiophyta

Fossil sites - Beecher's Trilobite Bed - Walcott–Rust quarry
Stratigraphic units - Chazy Formation - Fezouata formation - Holston Formation - Kope Formation - Potsdam Sandstone - St. Peter Sandstone

Researchers - Charles Emerson Beecher - Charles Lapworth - Charles Doolittle Walcott
Culture - Animal Armageddon - List of creatures in the Walking with... series - Sea Monsters

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Current Paleozoic FACs - none currently

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