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The Mesozoic Portal


tectonic break-up of Pangaea. The Mesozoic is the middle of the three eras since complex life evolved: the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic, and the Cenozoic

The era began in the wake of the

flowering plants appeared in the early Cretaceous Period and would rapidly diversify throughout the end of the era, replacing conifers and other gymnosperms as the dominant group of plants. (Full article...

Selected article on the Mesozoic world and its legacies

Artists's restoration of the Triassic aetosaur Desmatosuchus found at Petrified Forest National Park.

Aetosaurs (order name Aetosauria) are an
of aetosaurs have been described.

Aetosaur fossil remains are known from

index fossils
. Many aetosaurs had wide geographic ranges, but their stratigraphic ranges were relatively short. Therefore, the presence of particular aetosaurs can accurately date a site that they are found in.

Aetosaur remains have been found since the early 19th century, although the very first remains that were described were mistaken for fish scales. Aetosaurs were later recognized as crocodile relatives, with early paleontologists considering them to be semiaquatic scavengers. They are now considered to have been entirely terrestrial animals. Some forms have characteristics that may have been adaptations to digging for food. There is also evidence that some if not all aetosaurs made nests. (

see more...

Selected article on the Mesozoic in human science, culture and economics

Amphitheatre at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Amphitheatre at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon National Park /ˈbrs/ is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).

The Bryce Canyon area was settled by

National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (14,502 ha; 55.992 sq mi) and receives relatively few visitors compared to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location. (see more...

Selected image

Artist's restoration of the fish Saurichthys seefeldensis attacking the pterosaur Preondactylus.

Artist's restoration of the fish

Saurichthys seefeldensis attacking the pterosaur Preondactylus
Photo credit: Stanton F. Fink

Did you know?

Artist's restoration of Lyddekerina.
Artist's restoration of Lyddekerina.

Related portals


Geochronology - Triassic (Early - Middle - Late) - Jurassic (Early - Middle - Late) - Cretaceous (Early - Late)

Mesozoic landmasses -

Appalachia - Laramidia

Major Mesozoic events -

Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event

Triassic biota appearances -


Jurassic biota appearances -


Cretaceous biota appearances -


Fossil sites - Berlin–Ichthyosaur State Park - Petrified Forest National Park - Dinosaur National Monument - Dinosaur Valley State Park

Stratigraphic units -

History - History of paleontology - Timeline of paleontology - Timeline of ankylosaur research - Timeline of ceratopsian research - Timeline of ceratosaur research - Timeline of dromaeosaurid research - Timeline of hadrosaur research - Timeline of ichthyosaur research - Timeline of plesiosaur research - Timeline of stegosaur research - Timeline of tyrannosaur research

Researchers -

Harry Govier Seeley - Samuel Wendell Williston

Culture -

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