In the last article, we discussed the Permian period- the last one in the Paleozoic Era. Following that comes the Mesozoic Era, we often call it the Age of Reptiles. Following the chronological order, in the next article, we will revise the periods of the Mesozoic.
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Life After the Mass Extinction
After the biggest mass extinction in the history of life, the slow recovery started. The most adapted to new conditions were the marine species and opportunist vertebrates. The organisms living in complex ecological relations needed way more time to recover. Due to extremely high temperatures (up to 40 degrees Celsius in the oceans!) and anoxic waters, it took almost 4 million years until the huge recovery began. However, 2 million years later the minor Early Triassic Extinction happened due to the lack of plants. Until the middle of the period, several best-adapted groups dominated each ecosystem. Land vertebrates had the longest recovery, however, when they started they dominated the planet.
Division of the Mesozoic Era
The Triassic period witnessed the evolution of amphibians into reptile-like forms. Due to the breakup of Pangea, many new environments appeared and most of the ecological niches were filled with reptiles. It is when the very first dinosaurs appeared. Afterward, there is tropical Jurassic, when reptiles reach the peak of their dominance. Dinosaurs and pterosaurs dominated the lands, the air, some also waters. Finally, in the Cretaceous Earth started cooling and marine reptiles fully evolved and dominated the oceans. With the end of that period comes the next mass extinction event, probably caused by an asteroid. It ends the era of dinosaurs and the time for other dominant groups begins.
Major Evidence of the Mesozoic Era
The most known pieces of evidence of the Mesozoic Era are definitely fossils of dinosaurs. Some of them are similar to modern lizards or birds, however, there is something mysterious and unusual about them. Dinosaurs fossils are often for the public to see, for example in the Natural History Museum in London. Of course, dinosaurs are just a small puzzle in all other pieces of evidence of the Mesozoic. The most important ones include the first modern mammals and birds. Among plants, first flowers also left a trace. There is a lot of evidence from the time of extinction, both the one starting and the one ending the era. Despite the huge collection, there is still a lot to be found. Many unanswered questions, for example, the original purpose of insects’ mouthparts, for which scientists try to find the answers every day.
Read the previous in the series: The Permian Period.
I hope that that article helped you learn about the new era. If you enjoyed it, please share it with family and friends. We moved on from the Paleozoic, now we will discuss all periods of the Mesozoic. We will start with the Triassic, so stay tuned. Until then if you have any questions feel free to contact me. You can find my email address in the team’s section of the page, or use the contact form.
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