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The Mesozoic Portal

Diplodocus longus(2).jpg


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

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

William Buckland's illustration of a partial Megalosaurus jaw.
The history of paleontology traces the history of the effort to study the fossil record left behind by ancient life forms. Although fossils had been studied by scholars since ancient times, the nature of fossils and their relationship to life in the past became better understood during the 17th and 18th centuries. At the end of the 18th century the work of Georges Cuvier ended a long running debate about the reality of extinction and led to the emergence of paleontology as a scientific discipline.

The first half of the 19th century saw paleontological activity become increasingly well organized. This contributed to a rapid increase in knowledge about the history of life on Earth, and progress towards definition of the

Origin of Species in 1859, much of the focus of paleontology shifted to understanding evolutionary

The last half of the 19th century saw a tremendous expansion in paleontological activity, especially in North America. The trend continued in the 20th century with additional regions of the Earth being opened to systematic fossil collection, as demonstrated by a series of important discoveries in China near the end of the 20th century. There was also a renewed interest in the Cambrian explosion that saw the development of the body plans of most animal phyla. (see more...)

Selected image

Fossil of the Middle Jurassic ammonoid Leioceras comptum

A fossil shell of the
Schörzingen, Germany
Photo credit:
H. Zell

Did you know?

Sculpture by Tyler Keillor of the Cretaceous snake Sanajeh indicus feeding on hatchling sauropod dinosaurs.

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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