208 - 146 million years ago

Animate the Continental Drift

New Species:

  • first birds appear
Tropical climate
Giant land continent begins to break up
Ferns, ginkos, rushes, conifers, cycads
Many dinosaurs

Dinosaurs dominated the land fauna during the Jurassic period. The largest of them were the gigantic herbivorous sauropods (which are the largest land animals in all of our history). Other plant-eating dinosaurs included the plated stegosaurs, but there were many carnivorous dinosaurs, also. The Jurassic also saw the first birds evolve. They were the Archaeopteryx, which was actually an intermediate form between reptiles and birds.

The oceans swam with fishlike animals called ichthyosaurs (the name means fish lizard,) along with giant crocodiles and modern-looking sharks and rays. Also prominent were cephalopods -- ancient relatives of the squids, nautilus, and octopi.

There were many land plants, but they were different from what we see today. There were no flowering plants for most of the period. Instead, ferns, ginkgoes, and cycads dominated the landscape. Conifers were also present, including close relatives of living redwoods, cypresses, pines, and yews.