Permian-Triassic Life Crisis on Land

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5194, pp. 77-80
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5194.77


Recent advances in radiometric dating and isotopic stratigraphy have resulted in a different placement of the Permian-Triassic boundary within the sedimentary sequence of the Sydney Basin of southeastern Australia. This boundary at 251 million years ago was a time of abrupt decline in both diversity and provincialism of floras in southeastern Australia and extinction of the Glossopteris flora. Early Triassic vegetation was low in diversity and dominated by lycopods and voltzialean conifers. The seed fern Dicroidium appeared in the wake of Permian-Triassic boundary floral reorganization, but floras dominated by Dicroidium did not attain Permian levels of diversity and provinciality until the Middle Triassic (244 million years ago).