The richly-vegetated Jurassic landscape, with Brachiosaurus and StegosaurusThe Jurassic was the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Dinosaurs. It extended from 201 to 145 million years ago. As the Jurassic began, the supercontinent of Pangaea began to break apart. Warm winds blew across the shallow seas, making the climate much wetter than before. Dense vegetation grew rapidly in the swampy lowlands, providing a rich source of food for all plant-eating dinosaurs. New groups of dinosaurs evolved to take full advantage of this plentiful food supply, including the sauropods, which would become the dominant plant-eaters of the Late Jurassic, and the ornithischians, which would dominate in the Cretaceous. Larger, more powerful meat-eaters emerged at the same time. The first birds appeared in the Jurassic Period.
The world in the Jurassic times.During Jurassic times, the supercontinent of Pangaea began to break up and drift apart. The northern part, Laurasia, was separated into smaller continents and islands by rising seas. Gondwana in the south remained one large supercontinent. As the continents gradually shifted position, so the climates started to change, turning wetter in many regions. Sea levels rose, causing widespread flooding of low-lying lands. Plants, especially conifers, became more abundant, providing a rich source of food for ever-larger species of dinosaur.
Cycads are thick-trunked trees that look like palms. So many of them grew in the humid, tropical Jurassic climate that the Jurassic Period is also known by scientists as the Age of Cycads.
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