Prehistoric Supercontinents

For hundreds of millions of years, all the land of Earth was joined together in one large mass or super continent. Scientists call it Pangaea (meaning "all lands" in Greek)

Then about 200 million years ago the land began to drift apart. It broke into two pieces, and scientists have called the continent in the north Laurasia and Gondwanaland the continent in the south. Gondwanaland included what we know as Antarctica, which was joined to South America, Africa, India, and Australia.

The two large continents continued to break apart into the smaller continents that exist today. Scientists call this movement 'continental drift'

Go here to see illustrations of how the continents drifted apart

Gondwanaland was named by Eduard Suess, an Austrian geologist. The name he chose was after a district in India where the fossil plant Glossopteris was found. Suess said that because this fossil plant could be found in India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, then all the lands must once have been joined together.

Gondwanaland was a hot and dry place with rainy seasons. The first tree ferns and coniferous trees appeared there. Dinosaurs lived there at one time too.

Read about dinosaurs on the kidcyber dinosaur pages.

If you use any of this information, write it in your notes like this:
Sydenham, S. & Thomas, R. Prehistoric Supercontinents [Online]

Updated August 2006