Permian Monsters: Life Before The Dinosaurs
Were dinosaurs the first living things on Earth? Or were there other animals before them?
Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for millions of years… but almost no one ever asks this question: who was there before them?
How come we know so little about them?
To answer, we will have to dive into a world now lost forever, traversed by strange and seemingly ill-assembled creatures…just as if nature was randomly experimenting with the most suitable forms for survival.
In the Upper Carboniferous era, 300 million years ago, the world -hot and sweltering -was covered with vast, dense rain forests in which huge tree ferns up to 45 m tall, palms, and strange, primitive-looking trees predominated. Some of them reached heights of 40 m, with a width at the base of two meters. The trunk wood did not yet contain annual rings; often it was simply a hollow trunk, branched at the top with a dense crown.
The atmosphere was saturated with oxygen, which promoted the phenomenon of gigantism, especially in insects. Amphibians were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates, while in the oceans sharks replaced the armored fish widespread in the Devonian…
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