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Mesozoic Life. Tim Stuckey ESC 5032 July 17, 2006. Mesozoic Era. 66-250 million years ago “age of dinosaurs” It just wasn’t meant to be! (the breakup of Pangea-----Gondwana and Laurasia go their separate ways) Appearance of Birds and Mammals Marine Life also rapidly changing. Pangaea.

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Mesozoic Life

Tim Stuckey

ESC 5032

July 17, 2006


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Mesozoic Era

  • 66-250 million years ago

  • “age of dinosaurs”

  • It just wasn’t meant to be! (the breakup of Pangea-----Gondwana and Laurasia go their separate ways)

  • Appearance of Birds and Mammals

  • Marine Life also rapidly changing



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Pangea Continued

Pangea Breakup flash animation


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Life After the Permian Extinction

  • Mesozoic seas dominated by mollusks, sea urchins, crustaceans, fish, and marine reptiles.

  • Sponges and corals were still present

  • Corals belonged to Scleractinia (the living group of corals)

  • Crustaceans were new


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Marine Life Continued

  • Mollusks recovered from the Permian extinction much better than brachiopods.

  • Most successful clams and gastropods were good burrowers (to escape the new crustacean predators, and ammonites with much stronger jaws)

  • Several planktonic groups appeared (such as diatoms)


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Larger Marine Life

  • Cephalopods were very common

  • Bony fish developed hundreds of species

  • Marine reptiles were also present (plesiosaurs, elasmosaurus, ichthyosaurs)


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Dinosaurs

The two major groups of dinosaurs emerged in the late Triassic (saurischians and ornithischians)

Saurischians are large dinosaurs

Ornithischians differed in pelvis structure from the saurischians. But don’t let the prefix fool you, very few of them flew!


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Saurischians

  • T-Rex Archaeopteryx Sauropods


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Ornithischians

Stegosaurs Iguanodonts Pterosaurs


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Early Mammals

  • Mammals appeared during the mesozoic, but were small

  • Placental mammals and marsupials both were well established by the end of the Mesozoic, ready to take over the world after the great extinction!


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Kaboom!

  • The Mesozoic ended with a bang, around 66 million years ago

  • Possibly caused by a large meteorite striking the Yucatan Peninsula

  • Possibly caused by large volcanoes

  • Possibly caused by major regression of seas


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Web Resources

1)Introduction to the Mesozoic Era

2)Palaeos Mesozoic: The Mesozoic Era

3)Mesozoic Dinosaurs - Enchanted Learning Software

4)Earth Floor: Geologic Time

5)Paleobiology 4


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Physical Demo Models

1)Dinosaur Tracking Lab Activity

2)Make your own dinosaur from chicken bones


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Sources to Purchase material

1)Mesozoic posters

2)Dinosaur replicas and fossils

3)Mesozoic fossil set

4)Various resources from Carolina


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