We explain what the Mesozoic Era was, how it is divided and its climate. Also, what are its general characteristics, flora and fauna.
Its name means "intermediate life" (from the Greek meso , "between", and zoe , "life" or "animal") , since it is found between the "ancient life" (from the Greek palaio , "old") and the " new life ”(from the Greek kainos ,“ new ”). It had its beginning approximately 251 million years ago, and its culmination 66 million years ago.
In the Mesozoic Era, the world was under the rule of dinosaurs , which is why, zoologically , it is known as "The Age of Dinosaurs . " The cycads dominated the plant kingdom , which is why it is known botanically as "The era of cycads."
It lasted more than 290 million years. Throughout this time, life on the planet evolved .
They appeared the animals marine shell - but also more complex shapes such as large reptiles and relatively modern plants, such as conifers.
The Paleozoic is divided into the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian periods.
This period begins and ends with two mass extinction events : the Permian-Triassic and the Triassic-Jurassic, the former being the most catastrophic in the history of the entire planet.
The large reptiles proliferated and diversified . Thus, they conquered the land, the sea and even the air . Some of the bulkiest dinosaurs discovered are from this period of hot and humid climate.
This period ended in the so-called K-Pg Event , which is suspected to have consisted of the fall of a meteorite in the Yucatan Peninsula. The event caused the extinction of dinosaurs and many other species, and paved the way for mammals as the new masters of the planet.
This allowed the creation of new oceans , as well as the flooding of many plains that are currently arid, such as in the United States. In addition, it promoted a climatic distribution more similar to the modern one. During this period the Andes mountain range was formed , as well as the Rocky Mountains of North America.
The expansion of the seabed that occurred in the Jurassic allowed the sea level to rise, flooding new continental regions and flooding coastal areas. As a consequence, the world climate cooled considerably, tending to be humid and warm, almost tropical .
Finally, during the Cretaceous, the climate is less known. It is assumed that temperatures continued to rise , reaching even 10 ° C higher than today, which would have turned the equatorial areas into arid regions, despite their proximity to the sea, but there is not much evidence in this regard.
Dinosaurs were the predominant life form throughout the Mesozoic, both on land , in the air and in the sea: carnivores, herbivores, flying, long-necked or fast raptors, and a long etcetera that we know quite well today.
Furthermore, evidence shows that huge arthropod life forms , such as insects and arachnids, existed . Taking advantage of the extremely high levels of oxygen in the atmosphere (almost 35%, compared to the current 21%) they grew to levels today considered gigantic.
Towards the end of the Age, mammals began to proliferate , although always in very minor proportions compared to dinosaurs. Another important phenomenon has to do with the appearance of birds , or at least the first flying feathered dinosaurs , such as the famous Archeopteryx .
The end of the Era takes place when the K-Pg Mass Extinction Event occurs , today understood as the fall of a meteor of colossal proportions in Yucatan, Mexico , forever ending the reign of non-avian dinosaurs and many other prehistoric species.
The great evolutionary event in plant matter occurred towards the end of the Cretaceous: angiosperms emerged . With them the flowers appeared as a new botanical form.
This had an important impact on the evolution of plants and insects (it can be said that they coevolved), although cycads continued to be the predominant plant form until the end of the Era.
There is also a period of significant cooling of the planet that led to ice ages and the dominance of mammals as the new successful way of life. The Cenozoic is divided into the Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary periods.
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