The Jurassic Period

During this period, dinosaurs diversified greatly and spread out to occupy land, sea, and air. Along with large herbivores, there were salamanders, lizards, and the Archaeopteryx, the most ancient bird known. The climate of the Jurassic Period was mild, with moisture-laden winds from the ocean. They brought great downpours, enabling forests to cover wide areas of land.

STUDIES IN JURA

The name "Jurassic" comes from the Jura mountain range in the northern Swiss Alps. This is where the formal mapping of the rocks of this period took place.

STUDIES IN JURA

The name "Jurassic" comes from the Jura mountain range in the northern Swiss Alps. This is where the formal mapping of the rocks of this period took place.

The Green Planet

Flora

Jura Mountain

Fauna m

Dinosaurs greatly diversified and increased their geographic distribution during this period. Herbivorous saurischians, such as Brachiosaurus, and carnivores, such as Allosaurus, predominated. Ornithischians, such as Stegosaurus, also multiplied during this time.

The Green Planet

^^ As Pangea split apart, the sea level rose, and large areas of land were flooded.

This process increased humidity levels, which led to intense rainfall and created a milder climate. These climate conditions helped create rich forest ecosystems. Afforded abundant food, animal populations skyrocketed. The splitting of the continent also caused volcanic eruptions. Despite the dramatic movements of tectonic plates, the climate was warm and temperate on most areas of the planet.

208 TO 140

MILLION YEARS AGO

The Earth began to divide. During the Jurassic Period, North America drifted north and separated from what is now South America. North America formed part of Laurasia with what would become Europe. Antarctica, South America, India, and Australia formed Gondwana to the south.

Flora

Because of increasing rains, plant life became lush and exuberant. Mosses grew in the seas and on land. Many species of conifers, horsetail rushes, and ferns formed dense forests.

SHARED WORLD

During this period, the first marsupials appeared. Today highly developed versions of these mammals exist in Australia, which split apart from the rest of Gondwana in the late Jurassic. The Jurassic was also the age of Archaeopteryx, the most ancient of the primitive birds.

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COAL

Abundant coal beds dating back to this period proved good indications of the high humidity and abundant vegetation of the time.

Fauna m

Dinosaurs greatly diversified and increased their geographic distribution during this period. Herbivorous saurischians, such as Brachiosaurus, and carnivores, such as Allosaurus, predominated. Ornithischians, such as Stegosaurus, also multiplied during this time.

MEGALOSAURUS

means "large lizard."

DRYOSAURUS

means "oak reptile."

Dryosaurus

Dryosaurus

CAMARASAURUS

means "chambered lizard."

Camarasaurus

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