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Encyclopedia > Mesozoic

The Mesozoic Era is one of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. The division of time into eras dates back to Giovanni Arduino, in the 18th century, although his original name for the era now called the 'Mesozoic' was 'Secondary' (making the modern era the 'Tertiary'). Lying between the Paleozoic and the Cenozoic, Mesozoic means 'middle animals', derived from Greek prefix meso-/μεσο- for 'between' and zoon/ζωον meaning animal or 'living being'. It is often called the 'Age of the Dinosaurs', after the dominant fauna of the era. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Diagram of geological time scale. ... During the Phanerozoic the biodiversity shows a steady but not monotonic increase from near zero to several thousands of genera. ... In general usage, an eon (sometimes spelled æon) is an arbitrarily designated period of time. ... Giovanni Arduino (Caprino Veronese, October 16, 1714 – Venice, March 21, 1795) was an Italian geologist who is known as the Father of Italian Geology. ... Tertiary geological time interval covers roughly the time span between the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs and beginning of the most recent Ice Age, approximately 65 million to 1. ... The Paleozoic Era (from the Greek palaio, old and zoion, animals, meaning ancient life) is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. ... Mammals are the dominant creatures of Cenozoic. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Orders & Suborders Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Theropoda Ornithischia Thyreophora Ornithopoda Marginocephalia Dinosaurs were vertebrate animals that dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for over 160 million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. ... Fauna is a collective term for animal life of any particular region or time. ...


The Mesozoic was a time of tectonic, climatic and evolutionary activity. The continents gradually shifted from a state of connectedness into their present configuration; the drifting provided for speciation and other important evolutionary developments. The climate was exceptionally warm throughout the period, also playing an important role in the evolution and diversification of new animal species. By the end of the era, the basis of modern life was in place. The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Charles Darwins first sketch of an evolutionary tree from his First Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837) Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Geologic periods

Following the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic extended roughly 180 million years: from 251 million years ago (Mya) to when the Cenozoic era began 65 Mya. This time frame is separated into three geologic periods. From oldest to youngest: For other uses of mya, see mya (disambiguation). ... A geologic period is a subdivision of geologic time that divides an era into smaller timeframes. ...

The lower (Triassic) boundary is set by the Permian-Triassic extinction event, during which approximately 90% to 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates became extinct. It is also known as the "Great Dying" because it is considered the largest mass extinction in history. The upper (Cretaceous) boundary is set at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction event, which may have been caused by the impactor that created Chicxulub Crater on the Yucatán Peninsula. Approximately 50% of all genera became extinct, including all of the non-avian dinosaurs. The Triassic is a geologic period that extends from about 251 to 199 Ma (million years ago). ... The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 199. ... // The Cretaceous Period (pronounced ) is one of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, reaching from the end of the Jurassic Period (i. ... The Permian-Triassic (P-T or PT) extinction event, sometimes informally called the Great Dying, was an extinction event that occurred approximately 251 million years ago (mya), forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. ... For other uses, see Extinction (disambiguation). ... Artists reconstruction of a major impact event. ... Radar topography reveals the 180 kilometer (112 mile) wide ring of the crater (image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech) Chicxulub Crater (IPA: ) (cheek-shoo-LOOB) is an ancient impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula, with its center located approximately underneath the town of Chicxulub, Yucatán, Mexico. ... The Yucatán peninsula as seen from space The Yucatán Peninsula, in Southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. ... For other uses, see Bird (disambiguation). ...


Tectonics

Compared to the vigorous convergent plate mountain-building of the late Paleozoic, Mesozoic tectonic deformation was comparatively mild. Nevertheless, the era featured the dramatic rifting of the supercontinent Pangaea. Pangaea gradually split into a northern continent, Laurasia, and a southern continent, Gondwana. This created the passive continental margin that characterizes most of the Atlantic coastline (such as along the U.S. East Coast) today. [1] // Orogeny (Greek for mountain generating) is the process of mountain building, and may be studied as a tectonic structural event, as a geographical event and a chronological event, in that orogenic events cause distinctive structural phenomena and related tectonic activity, affect certain regions of rocks and crust and happen within... In geology, a supercontinent is a land mass comprising more than one continental core, or craton. ... For other uses, see Pangaea (disambiguation). ... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ... For other uses of Gondwana and Gondwanaland, see Gondwana (disambiguation). ...  Sediment  Rock  Mantle The continental margin is the zone of the ocean floor that separates the thin oceanic crust from thick continental crust. ... The Atlantic Ocean is Earths second-largest ocean, covering approximately one_fifth of its surface. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ...


By the end of the era, the continents had rifted into nearly their present form. Laurasia became North America and Eurasia, while Gondwana split into South America, Africa, Australia, Antarctica and the Indian subcontinent, which collided with the Asian plate during the Cenozoic, the impact giving rise to the Himalayas. North American redirects here. ... For other uses, see Eurasia (disambiguation). ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Map of South Asia (see note on Kashmir). ... For other uses, see Asia (disambiguation). ... Perspective view of the Himalaya and Mount Everest as seen from space looking south-south-east from over the Tibetan Plateau. ...


Climate

The Triassic was generally dry, a trend that began in the late Carboniferous, and highly seasonal, especially in the interior of Pangaea. Low sea levels may have also exacerbated temperature extremes. With its high specific heat capacity, water acts as a temperature-stabilizing heat, and land areas near large bodies of water—especially the oceans—experience less variation in temperature. Because much of the land that constituted Pangaea was distant from the oceans, temperatures fluctuated greatly, and the interior of Pangaea probably included expansive areas of desert. Abundant evidence of red beds and evaporites such as salt support these conclusions. The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Devonian period, about 359. ... Specific heat capacity, also known simply as specific heat, is the measure of the heat energy required to increase the temperature of a unit quantity of a substance by a certain temperature interval. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... Animated map exhibiting the worlds oceanic waters. ... This article is about arid terrain. ... Banded Iron Formations are a distinctive type of rock often found in old sedimentary rocks. ... This article is about common table salt. ...


Sea levels began to rise during the Jurassic, which was probably caused by an increase in seafloor spreading. The formation of new crust beneath the surface displaced ocean waters by as much as 200 m more than today, which flooded coastal areas. Furthermore, Pangaea began to rift into smaller divisions, bringing more land area in contact with the ocean by forming the Tethys Sea. Temperatures continued to increase and began to stabilize. Humidity also increased with the proximity of water, and deserts retreated. Age of oceanic crust. ... Tethys Ocean (here labeled Tethys Sea) divides Pangea into two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana The Tethys Ocean was a Mesozoic era ocean that existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia before the opening of the Indian Ocean. ... The term humidity is usually taken in daily language to refer to relative humidity. ...


The climate of the Cretaceous is less certain and more widely disputed. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are thought to have caused the world temperature gradient from north to south to become almost flat: temperatures were about the same across the planet. Average temperatures were also higher than today by about 10 °C. In fact, by the middle Cretaceous, equatorial ocean waters (perhaps as warm as 20 °C in the deep ocean) may have been too warm for sea life, and land areas near the equator may have been deserts despite their proximity to water. The circulation of oxygen to the deep ocean may also have been disrupted. For this reason, large volumes of organic matter accumulated because they were unable to decompose and were eventually deposited as "black shale". Carbon dioxide (chemical formula: ) is a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. ... Air redirects here. ... The temperature gradient in a given direction from a given spatial starting point is the rate at which temperature changes relative to distance in that direction from that point. ... For other uses, see Celsius (disambiguation). ... This article is about the chemical element and its most stable form, or dioxygen. ... For other uses, see Decomposition (disambiguation). ... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ... Oil shale Oil shale is a general term applied to a fine-grained sedimentary rock containing significant traces of kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) that have not been buried for sufficient time to produce conventional fossil fuels. ...


Not all of the data support these hypotheses, however. Even with the overall warmth, temperature fluctuations should have been sufficient for the presence of polar ice caps and glaciers, but there is no evidence of either. Quantitative models have also been unable to recreate the flatness of the Cretaceous temperature gradient.[citation needed] This article is about polar ice caps in general. ... Perito Moreno Glacier Patagonia Argentina Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland Icebergs breaking off glaciers at Cape York, Greenland This article is about the geological formation. ...


Life

The extinction of nearly all animal species at the end of the Permian period allowed for the radiation of many new lifeforms. In particular, the extinction of the large herbivorous and carnivorous dinocephalia left those ecological niches empty. Some were filled by the surviving cynodonts and dicynodonts, the latter of which subsequently became extinct. Animal life during the Mesozoic was dominated, however, by large archosaurian reptiles that appeared a few million years after the Permian extinction: dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and aquatic reptiles such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs. The Permian is a geologic period that extends from about 299. ... Four of the 13 finch species found on the Galápagos Archipelago, and thought to have evolved by an adaptive radiation that diversified their beak shapes to adapt them to different food sources. ... A deer and two fawns feeding on some foliage A herbivore is often defined as any organism that eats only plants[1]. By that definition, many fungi, some bacteria, many animals, about 1% of flowering plants and some protists can be considered herbivores. ... Carnivorism redirects here. ... Families   Estemmenosuchidae   Brithopodidae   Anteosauridae   Deuterosauridae   Styracocephalidae   Titanosuchidae   Tapinocephalidae Dinocephalia are a clade of large early therapsids that flourished during the Middle Permian, but became extinct leaving no descendants. ... Two lichens on a rock, in two different ecological niches In ecology, a niche (pronounced nich, neesh or nish)[1] is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem[1]. A shorthand definition is that a niche is how an organism makes a living. ... Clades Procynosuchidae Epicynodontia Galesauridae Eucynodontia Cynognathia Cynognathidae Tritylodontidae Probainognathia Trithelodontidae Mammaliformes Cynodonta, or dog teeth, were one of the most diverse groups of therapsids. ... Clades & Genera see Taxonomy The Dicynodontia are a taxon of Therapsids or mammal-like reptiles. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Clades Crurotarsi Aetosauria Crocodilia (crocodiles) Phytosauria Rauisuchia Ornithodira Aves (birds) Dinosauria Pterosauria Archosaurs (Greek for ruling lizards) are a group of diapsid reptiles that is represented today by birds and crocodiles and which also included the dinosaurs. ... Reptilia redirects here. ... Orders & Suborders Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Theropoda Ornithischia Thyreophora Ornithopoda Marginocephalia Dinosaurs were vertebrate animals that dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for over 160 million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. ... Suborders Pterodactyloidea Rhamphorhynchoidea * Pterosaurs (, from the Greek πτερόσαυρος, pterosauros, meaning winged lizard, often referred to as pterodactyls, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning winged finger ) were flying reptiles of the clade Pterosauria. ... Families Ichthyosauridae Leptonectidae Mixosauridae Ophthalmosauridae Shastasauridae Stenopterygiidae Teretocnemidae Ichthyosaurs (Greek for fish lizard - ιχθυς meaning fish and σαυρος meaning lizard) were giant marine reptiles that resembled fish and dolphins. ... Families Cimoliasauridae Cryptoclididae Elasmosauridae Plesiosauridae Polycotylidae Plesiosaurs (pronounced ) (Greek: plesios meaning near or close to and sauros meaning lizard) were carnivorous aquatic (mostly marine) reptiles. ... Subfamilies Mosasaurinae Plioplatecarpinae Tylosaurinae Mosasaurs (from Latin Mosa, the Meuse river where the fossils were first discovered + Greek sauros, lizard) were serpentine marine reptiles, more closely related to snakes than to monitor lizards (Lee 1997). ...


The climatic changes of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous provided for further adaptive radiation. The Jurassic was the height of archosaur diversity, and the first birds and placental mammals also appeared. Angiosperms radiated sometime in the early Cretaceous, first in the tropics, but the even temperature gradient allowed them to spread toward the poles throughout the period. By the end of the Cretaceous, angiosperms dominated tree floras in many areas, although some evidence suggests that biomass was still dominated by cycad and ferns until after the KT extinction. For other uses, see Bird (disambiguation). ... Orders[1] Bobolestes Eomaia Maelestes Montanalestes Murtoilestes Prokennalestes Placentalia Superorder Xenarthra: Cingulata (Armadillos) Pilosa (Sloths, True Anteaters) Superorder Afrotheria: Afrosoricida (Tenrecs, etc. ... Classes Magnoliopsida - Dicots Liliopsida - Monocots The flowering plants or angiosperms are the most widespread group of land plants. ... A noontime scene from the Philippines on a day when the Sun is almost directly overhead. ... For the use of the term in ecology, see Biomass (ecology). ... Families Cycadaceae cycas family Stangeriaceae stangeria family Zamiaceae zamia family Leaves and male cone of Cycas revoluta Cycads are an ancient group of seed plants characterized by a large crown of compound leaves and a stout trunk. ... This article is about the group of pteridophyte plants. ...


Some have argued that insects diversified with angiosperms because insect anatomy, especially the mouth parts, seems particularly well-suited for flowering plants. However, all major insect mouth parts preceded angiosperms and insect diversification actually slowed when they arrived, so their anatomy originally must have been suited for some other purpose. Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera... Human heart and lungs, from an older edition of Grays Anatomy. ... For other uses, see Mouth (disambiguation). ...


As the temperatures in the seas increased, the larger animals of the early Mesozoic gradually began to disappear while smaller animals of all kinds, including lizards, snakes, and perhaps the ancestor mammals to primates, evolved. The KT extinction exacerbated this trend. The large archosaurs became extinct, while birds and mammals thrived, as they do today. For other uses, see Lizard (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria For the folk-rock band see The Mammals. ... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ...


References

  • British Mesozoic Fossils, 1983, The Natural History Museum, London.
  1. ^ Stanley, Steven M. Earth System History. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1999. ISBN 0-7167-2882-6

External links

  • The Mesozoic from Palaeos
  • The Mesozoic, age of cycads and dinosaurs
  • Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems
  • Mesozoic climates
  • Paleozoic/Mesozoic climate
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Mesozoic
Phanerozoic eon
Paleozoic era Mesozoic era Cenozoic era
Mesozoic era
Triassic Jurassic Cretaceous
During the Phanerozoic the biodiversity shows a steady but not monotonic increase from near zero to several thousands of genera. ... The Paleozoic Era (from the Greek palaio, old and zoion, animals, meaning ancient life) is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. ... Mammals are the dominant creatures of Cenozoic. ... The Triassic is a geologic period that extends from about 251 to 199 Ma (million years ago). ... The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 199. ... // The Cretaceous Period (pronounced ) is one of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, reaching from the end of the Jurassic Period (i. ...

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For their 13th album and in their 25th year together, post-punk, art-rock pioneers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic do a 180 degree musical swerve and link up with bass-baritone vocalist Oral Moses, one of the preeminent African-American performers of traditional spirituals.
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Mesozoic means "middle animals", and is the time during which the world fauna changed drastically from that which had been seen in the Paleozoic.
Dinosaurs, which are perhaps the most popular organisms of the Mesozoic, evolved in the Triassic, but were not very diverse until the Jurassic.
The Mesozoic Era occurs between the Paleozoic and the Cenozoic.
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