Relative geologic dating and numerical geologic dating
Free 5-day trial The Mesozoic Era is characterized by the evolution of many species and marked by two major extinction events at the beginning and end.
The Mesozoic Era is divided into three major geological periods, which may be more familiar to us: the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous.
Terrestrial plants, or plants that live on land, were primarily dominated by gymnosperms.
Gymnosperm (meaning 'naked seed') groups evolved during the upper Paleozoic (the era prior to the Mesozoic) and included conifers (a familiar conifer would be a pine tree) and cycads (which look like palms and have leaf-like reproductive organs). During the Jurassic, the climate of most land was tropical and dinosaur species filled most ecological roles, including herbivores and carnivores.
Turtles, crocodile-like species, and frogs made their first appearances during the Triassic, as well.
Sea animals included some survivors of the mass extinction event at the end of the Paleozoic Era including ammonites (much like the modern-day Nautilus), brachiopods, and mollusks (modern day snails are mollusks), and new reptiles including plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs.
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Terrestrial vegetation was still dominated by ferns, cycads, gingkos, and conifers - all gymnosperms.