This event occurred during the Carboniferous Period. At that time, Europe and North America lay on the equator and were covered by steamy tropical rain forests.
But when the Earth's climate became hotter and drier, rain forests collapsed, triggering reptile evolution.
"We now know that this climate change caused the rain forests to fragment into small 'islands' of forest," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Howard Falcon Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London, who carried out the research, as saying.
This change isolated populations of reptiles and caused each community to evolve in a different direction leading to an increase in diversity.
The global warming set in motion the process which led to the evolution of dinosaurs and produced different species which adapted to the climate in different ways.
"This initial burst of global warming significantly affected the evolution of the world and led reptiles to evolve into dinosaurs, birds and mammals," Falcon Lang added.