Almost all the earth’s landmass was conjoined in a vast C-shaped continent astride the Equator: Pangea. Surrounding it was Panthalassa, a vast ocean twice the breadth of the modern Pacific from which protruded the Tethys Ocean, a huge gulf forming the mouth of Pangea’s ‘C’. Much of present South and East Asia existed as a gigantic archipelago fanning out from the proto Australian arm of Pangea. With no polar landmass, temperatures were generally warm, but the interior of Pangea had a continental climate with large temperature variation and cold winters. Over the Triassic, life recovered from the mass extinction at the end of the Permian. Reptiles diversified and the first dinosaurs appeared, as well as the first shrew-like mammals. The dominant plant forms were seed ferns. The period ended with growing plate tectonic activity, the beginning of Pangea’s division, and another mass extinction of life forms.
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