Imagine you took a random spin in a time machine and ended up in the Permian. Now imagine the time machine breaks down. You slam your fists on the dashboard and a digital red “251.9 MYA” dimly flickers and dies. The view out the cockpit window reveals red sand dunes and little else. From what you remember of your geology training you know that 252 million years ago is just about the worst thing you could possibly read on your display.
You kick the door open and—holy hell is it hot. You scarcely believe your breath. As you reach for the latch to slam it shut you’re startled by a thundering roar coming from the other side of the dunes. Curious, you step out into the primeval landscape. There’s no life, save a wilting weed here or there, where the dunes give way to barren soils, cracked and crusted with salt. The sandblasted husk of some odd creature sprawls across the wastes, its fangs bared.