Skip main navigation

A crisis before the end of the Permian

Watch: A crisis before the end of the Permian: interview with palaeontologist Mike Day

I ask Dr Michael Day, a palaeontologist, to talk to us about the reptilian fauna of the Permian. South Africa is really well known for fossils from this time period, and also for preserving a record of the end of the Permian extinction event.

You may recall that, in the introduction to this course, I told you about background extinctions that occurred in between the five big mass extinction events. Mike Day will chat with us about the Guadalupian extinction event, which was considered to be a ‘background’ extinction event that occurred about 8 million years before the mass extinction event at end of the Permian. The Guadalupian event mainly affected the very large terrestrial biota of the time – and it led to the extinction of the reptiles called dinocephalians.

Roger Smith will talk to us about his research in the Permian and Triassic rocks of the South African Karoo Basin, and we will see how he uses the rocks to understand how the environments changed over this time period, and about the evidence for the great die-out that occurred at the end of the Permian extinction event.

Lastly, we will talk with palaeobotanist, John Anderson about the plants in the Permian and about the extraordinary changes in the flora that followed the end of the Permian extinction event. John will also talk to us about the fascinating co-evolution of insects and plants over this time period.

This article is from the free online

Extinctions: Past and Present

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now