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 the Cretaceous.

Belemnite:an extinct (in early Tertiary) marine organism with a cone-shaped shell.

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 a 'clade'.

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 column.

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 Deinonychus.

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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