Reptiles

Cross references:  Sauropsids    Amphibians     Mammals  
Permian Discontinuity   
Subcortical Brain    Dorsal Ventricular Ridge        
      

Reptile (Wiki) 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiles   

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Traditionally, Reptiles are members of the vertebrate class Reptilia comprising the amniotes that are neither mammals nor birds.[1] Reptiles originated around 320-310 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land.


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The origin of the reptiles lies about 320–310 million years ago, in the steaming swamps of the late Carboniferous period, when the first reptiles evolved from advanced reptiliomorph labyrinthodonts.[18]
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Earliest reptiles were largely overshadowed by bigger labyrinthodont amphibians such as Cochleosaurus, and remained a small, inconspicuous part of the fauna until the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse.[25] This sudden collapse affected several large groups. Amphibians were particularly devastated, while reptiles fared better, being ecologically adapted to the drier conditions that followed. Amphibians must return to water to lay eggs; in contrast, reptiles - whose eggs possess a shell that allows them to be laid on land - were better adapted to the new conditions. Reptiles acquired new niches at a faster rate than before the collapse and at a much faster rate than amphibians. They acquired new feeding strategies including herbivory and carnivory, previously only having been insectivores and piscivores.[25] From this point forward, reptiles dominated communities and had a greater diversity than amphibians, setting the stage for the Mesozoic (known as the Age of Reptiles).[26]
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