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.



A new fireworm from the Cretaceous of Lebanon

Published on November 17th, 2015 | by Dave Marshall

A new fossil from Lebanon is named today in BMC Evolutionary Biology as Rollinschaeta myoplena. We spoke to lead author Luke Parry about this interesting fossil and its unusual namesake. “Due to their soft bodies polychaete annelids (the marine relatives [&hellip... Read More


Pterodactylus paddles low res

Episode 55: Pterosaurs

Published on November 15th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to achieve powered flight, and lived in the skies above the dinosaurs during the Mesozoic. They’re often mistakenly identified as dinosaurs, but are in fact a separate, closely related group. This [&hellip... Read More



Ornithomimus feather distribution

Published on November 2nd, 2015 | by Liz Martin

For some time now, we’ve known that most (if not all) theropod dinosaurs were feathered, but we’re still filling in the blanks of feather colouration, types of feathers, and how the feathers were distributed on the [&hellip... Read More


Ziapelta reconstruction by Sydney Mohr

Episode 53: Ankylosaurs

Published on October 15th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Ankylosaurs are a group of non-avian dinosaurs best known for their armour, tank-like bodies, and sometimes large tail clubs. First appearing in the Jurassic, they were common in Late Cretaceous ecosystems, with several species known from [&hellip... Read More


Life restoration of Gobisaurus by Sydney Mohr

Evolution of the ankylosaur tail club

Published on September 8th, 2015 | by Liz Martin

Ankylosaurs are the large, tank-like, armoured dinosaurs that often had a large boney club at the end of their tail. The club is formed of osteoderms, dermal bone that has fused together at the end of the [&hellip... Read More


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


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


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



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

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