Copyright PFMA/Doug Henderson
Imagine a large river basin with numerous rivers and streams flowing through the lowland. Galleries of trees, ferns, and giant horsetails grew abundantly along the waterway, providing food and shelter for many insects, reptiles, amphibians, and other creatures. In the slightly dryer areas a short distance from the water there were cycads, bennettitaleans, ginkgoes, and coniferous trees towering almost two-hundred feet into the sky.
During the Triassic Period, the climate was very different from that of today. Located near the equator, this region was humid and tropical, the landscape dominated by a river system larger than anything on Earth today. Giant reptiles and amphibians, early dinosaurs, fish, and many invertebrates lived among the dense vegetation and in the winding waterways. New fossils come to light as paleontologists continue to study the Triassic treasure trove of Petrified Forest National Park.
Did You Know?
Standing on the edge of a vast badlands landscape, a Spanish explorer is rumored to have named the area "El Desierto Pintado" (The Painted Desert) because the hills looked like they were painted with the colors of the sunset.