Mesozoic Era Lesson for Kids: Facts & Timeline

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  • 0:04 The Mesozoic Era
  • 0:23 Timeline
  • 1:39 Earth During the Mesozoic Era
  • 2:24 Life During the Mesozoic Era
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Momnie

Kerry has taught for eleven years in grades 4-8 and is currently a 5th grade classroom teacher. Kerry also has a master's degree and is a certified reading specialist.

Step back in time and visit life on Earth over 200 million years ago. What did the land look like? What life existed at that time? Let's take a closer look at the Mesozoic Era and find out.

The Mesozoic Era

Giant lizards, massive flying birds, and dinosaurs - this is probably what comes to mind when you think about the Mesozoic Era. This period of time on Earth was filled with life and change. During this unique era in history, many new species of living things came to be, including some that still roam the earth today.

Timeline

The Mesozoic Era began 252 million years ago and lasted until 66 million years ago. Since this era spanned a large amount of time, during which many changes took place, the era was divided into three periods: the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.

The Triassic period took place between 252 and 200 million years ago. This is when the number of reptiles on Earth expanded and the first dinosaurs began roaming the earth.

The Jurassic period took place between 200 to 145 million years ago. It was during this time that both birds and mammals were introduced on Earth.

The Cretaceous period took place between 145 to 66 million years ago. This is most likely the period you envision when you think about the Mesozoic Era. During this period, the most well-known dinosaurs roamed the earth, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops.

Sadly, the Mesozoic Era ended approximately 65 million years ago, when life on Earth was wiped out in a mass extinction. Scientists believe that a giant asteroid hit Earth at the Yucatan Peninsula, which caused the extinction. When the impact happened, so much dust and debris filled the atmosphere that the heat and light from the sun were unable to reach the earth. This caused plant life to die out, leaving the other living things without food.

Earth During the Mesozoic Era

The earth during the Mesozoic Era looked very different than it does today! When you picture the globe today, you know there are seven continents separated by five oceans. Back then, however, the continents were joined in one supercontinent called Pangaea. Though it's difficult to imagine the earth looking different than it does today, scientists have found fossil evidence to prove the Pangaea theory. Fossils of the same dinosaurs and other living things have been found on several continents, proving that all living things on land once all lived on one continent.

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