The Triassic Period (252 - 201 million years ago)

The Triassic was a time of recovery and diversification after the mass extinction at the end of the Permian.

Map of world: Late Triassic

Map of world: Late Triassic
Creator: Ronald Blakey © Ronald Blakey

The Triassic was getting hotter and dryer but a large part of Australia was under the influence of a monsoonal regime. The continents were still united as a super-continent called Pangaea and there was little to stop tetrapod animals migrating except climate.

Australia's Triassic facts


  • Most of Australia was within the high latitudes and the south pole lay in Eastern Australia


  • There were no polar ice caps, so the world’s climate was generally hot and dry with monsoonal polar regions.
  • Carbon dioxide levels were about three times higher than today.


  • Coal swamps had virtually disappeared. Most of Australia was land but some large sedimentary basins persisted.


  • The vegetation was dominated by the forked seed-fern, Dicroidium with abundant horsetails, club-mosses, ginkgoes, ferns, conifers such as pines and araucarians.


  • Aquatic environments were dominated by fish and labyrinthodont amphibians

What was happening in the rest of the world

  • The first dinosaurs, prosauropods, early ornithopods, small predators like Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus appeared.
  • The mammal-like reptiles were declining.
  • The long-tailed pterosaurs rule the air.
  • Sharks, bony fishes and ichthyosaurs inhabit the oceans
  • Early crocodiles, lizards and turtles thrive; insects such as cockroaches and dragonflies flourish
  • Primitive mammals were appearing.

Robert Jones , Palaeontology
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Tags dinosaurs, snapshots through time, Triassic,