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Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs opens Nov. 21 at the Academy of Natural Sciences


What came before dinosaurs and how global warming did them in


PHILADELPHIA, October 20, 2020

Step back in time 290 million years to when bizarre-looking creatures dominated life on land and sea, and dinosaurs had not yet evolved. Find out about the most devastating mass extinction the world has ever seen when Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs opens this fall at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

 

Permian Monsters, opening Saturday, Nov. 21, blends vivid artwork, amazing fossils and full-size scientifically accurate models of moving beasts to recreate this relatively unknown period that ended with the most devastating extinction of life. Visitors will explore odd-looking sharks, strange reptilelike precursors of mammals, a vicious giant saber-toothed gorgonopsid, and other extinct creatures that ruled the world millions of years before the dinosaurs.

 

The Permian period lasted from 299 to 251 million years ago and produced the first large plant-eating and meat-eating animals. The period ended with the extinction of 90% of all life on earth. What caused this mass extinction had baffled scientists for the last 20 years, but a recent discovery shed new light on the cause: global warming.

 

Visitors will learn how this now familiar phenomenon —  the long term warming of the planet — was triggered millions of years ago in another geological period by a huge volcanic eruption that set off a chain of events that led to the vast extinction of plants and animals.

 

Today we are experiencing another mass extinction of species, but this time there is a different trigger to global warming than in the Permian period. In the current geological period, called Anthropocene, human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

 

“There is much to be learned by looking at our past to understand our future,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper. “Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs is an excellent place for both adults and children to start to understand how life looked millions of years ago and what that means for us today.

 

“These beasts are truly fascinating to see, and some people may think they resemble the dinosaurs,” Cooper said. “It’s hard to image them walking and swimming through our world today, yet some of today’s insects, amphibians and other animals trace their origins to these creatures. We hope everyone who visits Permian Monsters will be inspired to take care of our precious world.”

 

The Art and Science of Permian Monsters

Permian Monsters blends art and science with a collection of new vivid artwork created through the vision of award-winning paleo-artist Julius Csotonyi. Visitors will see casts of fossilized skeletons, scientifically accurate 3D sculptures, and full-size beasts including seven that move with animatronics.

 

View giant insects, bizarre-looking sharks, long extinct sea creatures and strange herbivorous and carnivorous reptilelike animals that predated mammals. Meet the top predator of the time and find out what nearly killed them all to make way for Earth’s next rulers: the dinosaurs!

 

Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs will be on view Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 through Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Permian Monsters was developed by Gondwana Studios, Tasmania, Australia  

 

Admission to Permian Monsters is by timed ticket; to purchase tickets, visit ansp.org.