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The distinction between the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic is made at the end of the Permian in recognition of the largest mass extinction recorded in the history of life on Earth. It affected many groups of organisms in many different environments, but it affected marine communities the most by far, causing the extinction of most of the marine invertebrates of the time.
Some groups survived the Permian mass extinction in greatly diminished numbers, but they never again reached the ecological dominance they once had, clearing the way for another group of sea life.
On land, a relatively smaller extinction of diapsids and synapsids cleared the way for other forms to dominate, and led to what has been called the "Age of Dinosaurs.
Modern conifers, the most familiar gymnosperms of today, first appear in the fossil record of the Permian. The Permian was a time of great changes and life on Earth was never the same again. The global geography of the Permian included massive areas of land and water.
Many of the continents of today in somewhat intact form met in Pangea only Asia was broken up at the timewhich stretched from the northern to the southern pole.
Most of the rest of the surface area of the Earth was occupied by a corresponding single ocean, known as Panthalassa, with a smaller sea to the east of Pangea known as Tethys.
Models indicate that the interior regions of this vast continent were probably dry, with great seasonal fluctuations due to the lack of a moderating effect provided by nearby bodies of water. Only portions of this interior region received rainfall throughout the year.
There is little known about the Panthalassic Ocean itself. There are indications that the climate of the Earth shifted during the Permian, with decreasing glaciation as the interiors of continents became drier.
Stratigraphy Until the later s, there was little consensus on the order of strata in the late Permian. Since the upper strata of various Permian locations tend to be relatively fossil deficient, correlation using index fossils has been difficult.
Correlation was attempted using fossils that were in some cases native only to the local regions where they were found and older work was based on assumptions that have changed in more recent years.
Older classifications relied on the Ural Mountains stratigraphy.
InJin et al. In the early s, work by Jin and others resulted in the stratigraphy currently accepted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. The current stratigraphy divides the Permian into three series or epochs: Permian shales, sandstones, siltstones, limestones, sands, marls, and dolostones were deposited as a result of sea-level fluctuations.
These fluctuation cycles can be seen in the rock layers. Relatively few sites lend themselves to direct radioactive dating, so the age of intermediate strata is often estimated. Permian fossils that have been used as index fossils include brachiopods, ammonoids, fusilinids, conodonts, and other marine invertebrates, and some genera occur within such specific time frames that strata are named for them and permit stratigraphic identification through the presence or absence of specified fossils.
Localities Glass Mountains, Texas: Permian fossils from the Glass Mountains are of shallow, warm-water marine life. Resources and references Jin, Y. An operational scheme of Permian chronostratigraphy.
Stratigraphy of the Permian Basin of West Texas. West Texas Geological Society Publication A numerical time scale for the Permian and Triassic periods: An integrative time analysis.
Find out more about the Brule Trackways, Nova Scotiawhere hundreds of Permian age trackways have been found. Find out more about the Permian paleontology and geology of North America at the Paleontology Portal.
See the Wikipedia page on the Permian.Biometric technology – including the facial recognition capabilities within Bank of America’s latest enhancements – also addresses the friction linked to physical tokens.
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