Browsing the "Cretaceous" Category

The Cretaceous period is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 145 to 66 million years ago, and during which enormous deposits of Chalk were formed across Europe. The Cretaceous was a warm period with temperatures on average 4°C above present. Sea levels gradually rose through the Cretaceous; attaining a maximum of around 200 meters above the present level, and resulting in the formation of shallow seas as large areas of the continents became flooded. During the Cretaceous the supercontinents of Laurasia and Gondwana continued to break up; opening the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. In the oceans, teleosts, a major group of bony fish, began to flourish along with modern sharks and rays. Diatoms, a group of planktonic algae, also began to diversify. On land the first true mammals and birds evolved while dinosaurs remained dominant. A major floral revolution took place during the Cretaceous with the emergence and gradual diversification of flowering plants. The end of the Cretaceous is marked by one of the most catastrophic extinctions in earth’s history. Dinosaurs, pterosaurs, ammonites, belemnites, rudist bivalves and many groups of marine reptiles were among those wiped out. An Iridium rich layer found globally at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, along with a vast impact crater in Mexico, lead many to believe that a meteor was responsible for the end Cretaceous extinction. However, massive volcanism in India, contemporaneous with the extinction, may also have been a contributing factor.

Cretaceous

Gueragama (image by Julius Csotonyi)

New iguana from Brazil

Published on August 26th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

A new iguanian fossil described in Nature Communications from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil is changing traditional views on early lizard evolution in the southern hemisphere. Lizards are split into two groups: acrodontan lizards (found in [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

Zhenyuanlong by Zhao Chuang

New dromaeosaurid – Meet Zhenyuanlong

Published on July 16th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Another new feathered dinosaur has been described today from the Early Cretaceous of China. Zhenyuanlong joins the ever expanding list of feathered theropods from this region, and has implications for the evolution of wings in dinosaurs. We [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

Life reconstruction of Wendiceratops pinhornensis. Credit: Danielle Dufault

New ceratopsian – Wendiceratops

Published on July 8th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Today, a new ceratopsian was named, Wendiceratops pinhornensis. While known to the public for sometime, it has now been officially named and described. It is an important find illuminating ceratopsian and centrosaurine evolution in North America. We spoke [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

cover

Episode 42: Pterosaur aerodynamics

Published on April 1st, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Palaeontology is more than just going out into the field, digging up bones, and putting them back together. A good understanding of biology, geology, and even engineering can help to figure out how extinct animals lived [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

DPP

Episode 39: Dinosaurs of Alberta

Published on January 1st, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

Alberta, Canada is one of the world’s richest areas for dinosaur fossils, and especially fossils from the Late Cretaceous. Iconic dinosaurs like T. rex, Triceratops, and Parasaurolophus, as well as numerous other dinosaurs and fossils can [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

AquilopsRecon-Family-Flipped

Episode 38: Ceratopsians

Published on December 10th, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

Ceratopsians are some of the most iconic dinosaurs that we recognise today including animals like Triceratops and Styracosaurus, with their big horns and frills. But is that what all ‘horned dinosaurs’ looked like? In fact, early [&hellip... Read More


Cretaceous

Dinosaur-Sinornithosaurus

Episode 37: Theropods and birds

Published on December 1st, 2014 | by Dave Marshall

Theropods are what we would classically recognise as the meat-eating dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era. They are best known from genera such as Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor but the group is much more diverse and includies herbivores, beaked [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

Tingamarra_reconstruction

Episode 24: Marsupial evolution

Published on January 1st, 2014 | by Laura Soul

Marsupials are a group of mammals best known from Australia, but are also present in South America and up to the southern and eastern parts of the USA. Despite their current geographical distribution, metatherians (the group [&hellip... Read More


Cenozoic

Dried fish

Episode 23: Mass extinctions

Published on December 1st, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

What are Mass extinctions, how are they quantified, what are the driving forces behind them, how bad were the ones in the past and will we have more in the future? To answer these questions we [&hellip... Read More


Carboniferous

36 Oxroadia detail

Episode 22: Fire and Charcoal

Published on October 15th, 2013 | by Dave Marshall

Most people would consider fire to be an entirely destructive process, however given the right circumstances organic materials can be exquisitely preserved by charcoalification. We no doubt all know charcoal from the BBQ, but how many of [&hellip... Read More


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