Geological time scale:
The geological time scale is the systematic and chronological dating that classifies the changes that occur on the land in time.
It describes the changes that happened in the earthâ€™s crust, the associated evolution and extinction of animals, and their relationship with the changing climate in time.
The geological time scale is divided into eons, era, periods, epochs, and ages.
The eras in order of occurrence are the azoic era, Paleozoic era, Mesozoic era, and Cenozoic era.
Mesozoic era is called the â€˜Golden age of reptilesâ€™ as reptiles flourished and dominated the earth during this era. It also saw the evolution of primitive reptiles and birds.
The Mesozoic era occurred around 65 to 252 million years ago (mya).
Mesozoic era is also known as the most romantic era as it saw an increase in biodiversity.
Mesozoic era is divided into the Triassic period, Jurassic period, and Cretaceous period.
The Triassic period occurred between 252 to 201 mya, Jurassic between 201 to 145 mya, and cretaceous between 145-66 mya.
During the Mesozoic era, the Pangaea broke up and separated into two landmasses the Laurasia and Gondwana.
Laurasia broke into smaller landmasses during the Jurassic period. Laurasia later formed most of Asia, North America, Greenland, and most of western Europe. Gondwana later formed Africa, South America, Australia, India, New Zealand, and Antarctica during the Cretaceous.
Sea level rose during the Mesozoic era, the earth had a warm climate, Antarctica was rich with forests and dinosaurs.
During the Cretaceous, earth saw an all-time high temperature which later cooled down.
Diversification of reptiles during the Mesozoic era:
Diversification of reptiles occurred both in the sea and land.
Extinction events from the Permian continued into the early Triassic but the diversity of organisms soared up.
Ammonoids increased in large numbers which later decreased due to an extinction event that occurred during the end of the Triassic due to rising carbon dioxide levels.
Post this extinction event adaptive radiation of reptiles occurred and led to the diversification of reptiles during the Mesozoic era.
The Mesozoic era was characterized by the species interaction- predation.
Ammonoids led to the rise of amniote vertebrates- the reptiles post the extinction event during the Triassic period.
The major diversification of reptiles is based on the openings in the temporal region of the skull in the common ancestor that later evolved into vast lineages.
The different skull types based on temporal opening includes the diapsids, the amniotes, and synapsids in the order of occurrence from past to recent.
The marine reptiles flourished from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous era. Examples are the Ichthyosaurs which were viviparous, ancestors of turtles.
The diapsids have two temporal openings and gave rise to several diverse lineages of reptiles.
The major diapsid lineage is the lepidosaurs that include lizards, snakes, tuatara, and ichthyosaurs. Except for ichthyosaurs the rest of them flourished well into the Cenozoic era with several evolutionary changes.
Snakes were ecologically diverse during the Cretaceous period.
Archosaurs are the other diapsid group that includes several diverse Mesozoic reptiles such as the dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodiles, and turtles.
Crocodiles and turtles flourished into the Cenozoic era, the pterosaurs gave rise to bird lineage and dinosaurs went extinct during the Cenozoic extinction event.
The archosaurs were predators and had body adapted for predators.
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