Paleontology

Information on the Climate of Dinours



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The dinosaurs lived in the Mesozoic Era which was a time of tectonic, climatic and evolutionary activity. It was a time when the continents shifted from a state of connectedness into their present configuration. But just what types of climates did the dinosaurs live in? Scientist can tell us by research that the types of climate during the Triassic was generally dry, a trend that began in the late Carboniferous. It was highly seasonal, especially in the interior of the Pangaea (a super continental plate of continent) but this was only the beginning of the climate changes that were to come.

Low sea levels would cause temperature extremes with high specific heat capacity, water would act as a temperature-stabilizing heat reservoir and large bodies of water, especially the oceans, would experience less variation in temperature. But the most of the land during the Pangaea was far from the ocean the temperatures fluctuated greatly and it's very likely that parts of the Pangaea included expansive desert which dinosaurs could have lived in. This can be seen by the evidence of red bed which is reddish colored rock, sandstone, siltstone and shale that is found in the Earth today. This had to be deposited in hot climates under oxidizing conditions such as salt which also substantiates this.

During the Jurassic Period sea floors began to spread which and sea levels began to rise. This would have caused coastal flooding which can be seen by the formation of crust beneath the surface. It was 200 m more than what it is today. Big changes came when the Pangaea began to shift into smaller divisions which brought more land in contact with the ocean by forming the Tethys Sea. This is a sea that existed between continents of Gondwana and Laurasia during the Mesozoic Era before the Indian Ocean came into being. Temperatures began to increase but also began to stabilize. Humidity increased with the amount of water spread out and deserts slowly retreated. Jungle, forest and plant life flourished under these conditions making it the ideal temperature for dinosaurs and probably helped to keep them on Earth for the span of the millions of years that they lived.

In the first half of the Cretaceous the process continued but two additional climate trends occurred which began in the Jurassic became quite pronounced. The first thing that occurred was that the temperatures from North to South became almost flat ,in other words the average temperatures were about the same all over the Earth from the Poles to the equator. The second change that took place the average temperatures were much higher than we know today, approximately 10 C higher which would have made the carbon dioxide levels would certainly have played a part although the paleoclimate data do not match theoretical predictions.

Later in the Cretaceous story becomes more complex and therefore more controversial. Some believe that the sea temperatures near the equator became too warm which probably became in compatible with ocean life. Some suggest that land near the equator was not jungle or forested and that plant life was low leaving these regions arid despite their closeness to the sea. It is believed that some deep ocean circulation may have broken down meaning that water circulated horizontally but not vertically. This meant the ocean wasn't getting oxygen.

It is known that by the end of the Cretaceous period the earth was changing rapidly by volcanic eruptions which are thought by scientist to have contributed to the dinosaur extinction. The air would have been full of ash and based on the theory of an asteroid hitting the earth it probably brought on the extinction of 70% of the life that roamed the Earth including the dinosaur.

As usual the climate of the age of the dinosaurs is just as debatable among scientist as everything else concerning them but the messages left from the past gives us many clues as to what types of climates dinosaurs lived in. we just have to use common sense and deduction to find out just how it was. Researchers are finding more information day by day and it is based on fact. It is exciting to think how much more information that is yet to be found to verify just how the climate was in the days of the dinosaurs.

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