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NEWS: THE PERMIAN MONSTERS

Evolutionsmuseets illustration af en Dimetrodon

Imagine a world filled with dragonflies the size of crows and millipedes as long as cars. A world where the land was dense with giant horsetails, ferns and conifers. A world in which most life was aquatic. This is how the Earth looked approximately 299–252 million years ago, during the Permian period. The time before the dinosaurs and the last part of the Earth’s ancient history, the Paleozoic Era.

In 2022, the Natural History Museum of Knuthenborg will not only open the dinosaur universe with the exhibition of the world’s best-preserved specimen of one of the ultimate killer dinosaurs, the Allosaurus Big Joe.

You will also get a unique insight into the Permian period, the time before the era of dinosaurs. We start in the water, where life on Earth began. Slowly we move onto land with the skeletons of the ancient Permian animals – our early ancestors.

Experience the dominant Dimetrodon and eight other genuine Permian skeletons

Our earliest ancestors

During the Permian period, the first animals were adapted to life on land. The ability to breathe and communicate on land emerged. It became the cornerstone of the great diversity of mammals, dinosaurs and birds, etc., which have lived on land ever since. Knuthenborg’s large new collection of animals from the Permian period therefore gives us completely unique insight into the development of life. Read more about the museum here

During the Permian period, the supercontinent Pangea came together, which created major environmental changes. Before Pangea, nature consisted of huge swamp forests and an enormous growth and diversity in the plant kingdom. During the Permian period, the climate changed drastically and became drier with few humid areas. This meant that animal and plant life had to struggle to adapt to life on the dry soil.

Climate change

The Permian period ended approx. 252 million years ago with the most devastating mass extinction in world history, ‘The Great Dying’. Researchers believe that mass extinction occurred due to climate change, drastic temperature increases and enormous amounts of CO2 emissions.

More than 90% of all species became extinct as a result of climate change. Most of the large groups of plants, animals and microbes of that time disappeared forever. When the climate and environment change drastically over a relatively short period of time, a species cannot possibly adapt to the new conditions. Evolution takes place over many generations. When a species becomes extinct, it never reappears, but the approximately 10% of the species that managed to survive the changes became the starting point for all life on Earth today.

The knowledge we have about previous mass extinctions, and especially ‘The Great Dying’, can give us insight into what the consequences could be if a large proportion of the Earth’s species become extinct due to climate change.

The Great Dying’ marked the start of the dinosaur era, which you can experience up close in the exhibit featuring Big Joe, the world’s most intact skeleton of the killer dinosaur AllosaurusRead more here.