Ammonite:a marine organism with a coiled hard shell, that lived from the
Lower Devonian and were extinct by the end of the Cretaceous Period.
Angiosperm: a flowering plant which has its seeds
enclosed within an ovary. gymnosperms hold their seed in cones.They originated during
Belemnite:an extinct (in early Tertiary) marine organism with a
Benthic:those organisms that live on the sea floor
Clade: A related group of animals with a common ancestor,
e.g. the dinosaurs all evolved from a single common ancestor, and are
Climatethe average weather of a place, together with the degree of
variability of that weather , over a period of time.
Cretaceous:the interval of geological time that began about 140 million
years (Ma) ago, and lasted about 75 Ma to the KT boundary 65 Ma ago. It is the
final period of the Mesozoic Era, and precedes the Tertiary Period.
Equable Climate:Very little contrast between the climate at the equator
from that at the poles. This was thought to be so during the Mid to Late
Creatceous and is not so today.
Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary: The strata in the geologic record that mark
the transfer from the Cretaceous to the Tertiary time periods. These
boundary deposits were formed 65 million years ago, and are found all
around the world.
Fern spike: Refers to the graphical representation of a rapid increase in
fern abundance following an event detrimental to the environment. Ferns
grow quickly in environments where there is little competition for
survival, but then decline as more advanced species take over.
Foram:(short for foraminifera) tiny sea living organism that excretes a
shell of calcium carbonate.
Global warming Increase in mean global temperatures due to gases in the
atmosphere insulating the Earth. Icebergs melt and sea levels rise.
Gondwanaland:the southern protocontinent land mass that was derived from
the supercontinent Pangaea. It was thought to have comprised of Antarctica,
Africa, South America, Australia and India.
Jurassic: A geological period from 210 to 150 million years ago.
Laurasia:the northern protocontinent that was derived from Pangaea.
It comprised of North America, Eurasia (exclusive of India) and Greenland.
Maastrichtian The last stage of time before the K/T boundary is reached.
I.e. the last 5 million years of the Cretaceous period.
Mass extinction A large extinction of species, often plants and animals,
occurring on a global scale. Analysis of fossil abundance suggests a mass
extinction to have occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period.
Mesozoic:the Mesozoic ('middle life') Era was a span of geological time
between 250 and 65 Ma. It included the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Ornithischia: 'Bird hipped'. One of the main divisions of dinosaurs, in which
two of the bones in the hip pint backward, as in birds. See also classification of the dinosaurs.
Palaeontology:the study of life forms that existed in past geological
periods, as represented by fossil plants and animals.
Plankton:free-floating and drifting organisms that live in the water
Regression: the retreat of the sea from land areas.
Sauropod: 'Reptile footed'. A name given the the large herbivorous dinosaurs
such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus.
Saurischia: 'Reptile hipped'. Group of dinosaurs in which one of the bones in the hip points
forward. See also classification of the dinosaurs.
Theropod: 'Beast footed'. A carnivorous dinosaur, such as Tyrranosaurus or
Tertiary: the time period between 2.5 and 65 million years ago.
By the start of the Tertiary the dinosaurs had become extinct.
Transgression: an incursion of the sea over land areas, due to an
increase in the relative sea-level height.
Tethys:the sea that separated Gondwanaland from Laurasia.
Volcanism:processes of the discharge of molten or hot rock or hot water
at the surface of the Earth.
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