After a continental drift brought the Devonian period to an end, the Carboniferous period started. During this time, most of the Earth was comprised of swamps, rivers, and coal forests, all populated by a plethora of trees and giant ferns. The amphibians were the dominant land vertebrates of the time. Along with this, the fish were the dominant water predators; the lobe-finned fish had started to decline, while the early sharks, on the other hand, had started to diversify. Meanwhile, the arthropods had grown to large sizes due to increasingly high oxygen levels, and some of them evolved wings for flight. However, they were only large and diverse on land; in the water, the eurypterids had become somewhat small after their displacement from apex predator role during the Devonian. During the middle of the period, a branch of amphibians would evolve into reptiles (tetrapod animals that were completely independent of the water, having scales as protection from the elements); in turn, the reptiles would evolve into synapsids (tetrapod animals that had features of both reptiles and mammals). Soon, the coal forests that were abundant in this distinctive period would collapse, driving many genera to extinction and giving rise to the Permian.
Lasted from 358.9-298.9 mya