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In many ways, the Triassic was a time of transition. It was at this time that the world-continent of Pangaea existed, altering global climate and ocean circulation. The Triassic also follows the largest extinction event in the history of life, and so is a time when the survivors of that event spread and recolonized.

The organisms of the Triassic can be considered to belong to one of three groups: holdovers from the Permo-Triassic extinction, new groups which flourished briefly, and new groups which went on to dominate the Mesozoic world. The holdovers included thelycophytes, lycophytesglossopterids, and dicynodonts. While those that went on to dominate the Mesozoic world include modern conifers, cycadeoids, and the dinosaurs.

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