ADVANTAGES

The Carboniferous also marked the rise of reptiles, which between 320 and 310 mya. The very term has become rather informal with the rise of , as birds and mammals descended from “reptiles” but are not called that. The term refers to groupings such as reptiles, in which part of the clade is not classified in the named group; clades (beginning with the last common ancestor and including all descendants) are tidier and scientists often prefer them. Although the issue, as usual, is controversial today, it seems that and reptilian ancestors may have descended from different groups of tetrapods, and some seemingly added to the controversy. But the idea that reptiles are is still prominent. Most importantly, reptiles were the first , a clade that includes birds and mammals, which do not need to lay their eggs in water and allowed reptiles to . Reptiles then colonized niches previously unavailable to amphibians. The first reptiles were small and ate insects, and laying eggs in trees may have been a solution to arboreal life. Seed plants and amniotes could reproduce on dry land, and their success greatly expanded terrestrial ecosystems.

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