Timeline of the evolutionary history of life

It is diagnosed by many features including loss of the postfrontal on the skull and an elongate deltopectoral crest on the humerus. In March , scientists reported a new way of classifying the dinosaur family tree, based on newer and more evidence than available earlier. According to the new classification, the original dinosaurs, arising million years ago, were small, two-footed omnivorous animals with large grasping hands. Descendants for the non-avian dinosaurs lasted until 66 million years ago. Crocodiles are also descendants of mid-Triassic archosaurs. Dinosaurs can be defined as the last common ancestor of birds Saurischia and Triceratops Ornithischia and all the descendants of that ancestor. With that definition, the pterosaurs and several species of archosaurs narrowly miss out on being classified as dinosaurs. The first known dinosaurs were bipedal predators that were 1—2 metres 3. Saturnalia may be a basal saurischian or a prosauropod.

Ancient DNA

The holotype specimen was found in fluvial marine sedimentation, meaning that the corpse of the animal was transported by a river and washed out to sea. Most of the preserved elements are very robust, unusual traits in hadrosaurs. Hadrosaurus were ponderously-built animals equipped with keratinous beaks for cropping foliage and a specialized and complex dentition for food processing. Hadrosaurus foulkii , the only species in this genus , is known from a single specimen consisting of much of the skeleton and parts of the skull.

The specimen was collected in from the Woodbury Formation in New Jersey , US , representing the first dinosaur species known from more than isolated teeth to be identified in North America.

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Of the species that have been classified in the upper Morrison Formation of the western US, only three are universally recognized; S. The remains of over 80 individual animals of this genus have been found. Stegosaurus would have lived alongside dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus , Diplodocus , Brachiosaurus , Allosaurus , and Ceratosaurus ; the latter two may have preyed on it. These were large, heavily built, herbivorous quadrupeds with rounded backs, short fore limbs, long hind limbs, and tails held high in the air.

Due to their distinctive combination of broad, upright plates and tail tipped with spikes , Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable kinds of dinosaurs. The function of this array of plates and spikes has been the subject of much speculation among scientists. Today, it is generally agreed that their spiked tails were most likely used for defense against predators, while their plates may have been used primarily for display, and secondarily for thermoregulatory functions.

Stegosaurus had a relatively low brain-to-body mass ratio. It had a short neck and a small head, meaning it most likely ate low-lying bushes and shrubs. One species, Stegosaurus ungulatus , is the largest known of all the stegosaurians bigger than related dinosaurs such as Kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus. The first known skeletons were fragmentary and the bones were scattered, and it would be many years before the true appearance of these animals, including their posture and plate arrangement, became well understood.

Despite its popularity in books and film, mounted skeletons of Stegosaurus did not become a staple of major natural history museums until the midth century, and many museums have had to assemble composite displays from several different specimens due to a lack of complete skeletons.


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This timeline of the evolutionary history of life represents the current scientific theory outlining the major events during the development of life on planet Earth. In biology , evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organization , from kingdoms to species , and individual organisms and molecules , such as DNA and proteins.

The similarities between all present day organisms indicate the presence of a common ancestor from which all known species, living and extinct , have diverged through the process of evolution. More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, [1] that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. While the dates given in this article are estimates based on scientific evidence , there has been controversy between more traditional views of increased biodiversity through a cone of diversity with the passing of time and the view that the basic pattern on Earth has been one of annihilation and diversification and that in certain past times, such as the Cambrian explosion , there was great diversity.

Species go extinct constantly as environments change, as organisms compete for environmental niches, and as genetic mutation leads to the rise of new species from older ones. Occasionally biodiversity on Earth takes a hit in the form of a mass extinction in which the extinction rate is much higher than usual. The first known mass extinction in earth’s history was the Great Oxygenation Event 2. That event led to the loss of most of the planet’s obligate anaerobes.

Talk:Dinosaur/Archive 2

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles [note 1] of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period , between and They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic—Jurassic extinction event The fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs , having evolved from earlier theropods during the Late Jurassic epoch.

Dating[edit]. The vast majority of the dinosaur fossils discovered by the AAOD Museum are from the earliest Late Cretaceous period and.

The history of paleontology traces the history of the effort to understand the history of life on Earth by studying the fossil record left behind by living organisms. Since it is concerned with understanding living organisms of the past, paleontology can be considered to be a field of biology, but its historical development has been closely tied to geology and the effort to understand the history of Earth itself. The ancient Chinese considered them to be dragon bones and documented them as such.

The Chinese naturalist Shen Kuo — would propose a theory of climate change based on evidence from petrified bamboo. In early modern Europe , the systematic study of fossils emerged as an integral part of the changes in natural philosophy that occurred during the Age of Reason. The expanding knowledge of the fossil record also played an increasing role in the development of geology, and stratigraphy in particular.

In , the word “paleontology” was used by the editor of a French scientific journal to refer to the study of ancient living organisms through fossils, and the first half of the 19th century saw geological and paleontological activity become increasingly well organized with the growth of geologic societies and museums and an increasing number of professional geologists and fossil specialists. This contributed to a rapid increase in knowledge about the history of life on Earth, and progress towards definition of the geologic time scale largely based on fossil evidence.

As knowledge of life’s history continued to improve, it became increasingly obvious that there had been some kind of successive order to the development of life. This would encourage early evolutionary theories on the transmutation of species.

Evolution of dinosaurs

In the geologic record , the K—Pg event is marked by a thin layer of sediment called the K—Pg boundary , which can be found throughout the world in marine and terrestrial rocks. The boundary clay shows high levels of the metal iridium , which is rare in the Earth’s crust , but abundant in asteroids. Other causal or contributing factors to the extinction may have been the Deccan Traps and other volcanic eruptions, [18] [19] climate change , and sea level change.

A wide range of species perished in the K—Pg extinction, the best-known being the non-avian dinosaurs. It also destroyed a myriad of other terrestrial organisms, including some mammals , pterosaurs , birds , [20] lizards , [21] insects , [22] [23] and plants. Mammals in particular diversified in the Paleogene , [27] evolving new forms such as horses , whales , bats , and primates.

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To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today. Soon, his target came into view: Hiawatha Glacier, a slow-moving sheet of ice more than a kilometer thick. It advances on the Arctic Ocean not in a straight wall, but in a conspicuous semicircle, as though spilling out of a basin. The helicopter landed near the surging river that drains the glacier, sweeping out rocks from beneath it.

What he brought home clinched the case for a grand discovery. Hidden beneath Hiawatha is a kilometer-wide impact crater, big enough to swallow Washington, D. The crater was left when an iron asteroid 1. Though not as cataclysmic as the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub impact , which carved out a kilometer-wide crater in Mexico about 66 million years ago, the Hiawatha impactor, too, may have left an imprint on the planet’s history.

The timing is still up for debate, but some researchers on the discovery team believe the asteroid struck at a crucial moment: roughly 13, years ago, just as the world was thawing from the last ice age. That would mean it crashed into Earth when mammoths and other megafauna were in decline and people were spreading across North America.

The impact would have been a spectacle for anyone within kilometers. A white fireball four times larger and three times brighter than the sun would have streaked across the sky. If the object struck an ice sheet, it would have tunneled through to the bedrock, vaporizing water and stone alike in a flash.

Downloadable Content

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true dinosaurs can be followed through fossils of the early Archosaurs such as the Proterosuchidae, Erythrosuchidae and Euparkeria which have fossils dating.

However, re-interpretation of the sediments showed that they are probably Mid-Jurassic in age, dating Afrovenator to the Bathonian to Oxfordian stages, between and mya. Afrovenator is known from a single relatively complete skeleton, holotype UC OBA 1 , featuring most of the skull minus its top likewise the mandible , or lower jaws, are lacking apart from the prearticular bone , parts of the spinal column , partial forelimbs, a partial pelvis , and most of the hind limbs. This skeleton is housed at the University of Chicago.

The generic name comes from the Latin afer , “African”, and venator , “hunter”. There is one named species , Afrovenator abakensis. The generic name refers to its predatory nature, and its provenance from Africa. The specific name refers to Abaka , the Tuareg name for the region of Niger where the fossil was found. The original short description of both genus and species is found in a paper which appeared in the prestigious journal Science.

Judging from the one skeleton known, this dinosaur was about 8 meters 26 feet long, from snout to tail tip, and had a weight of about 1 tonne according to Gregory S.

Last Dinosaurs

All rights reserved. A small coelurosaur, a feather-tailed dinosaur that lived 99 million years ago, approaches a resin-coated branch on the forest floor in an illustration. Abundant fossil bones, teeth, trackways, and other hard evidence have revealed that Earth was the domain of the dinosaurs for at least million years. But so far, not a single trace of dinosaur remains has been found in rocks younger than about 66 million years.

At that point, as the Cretaceous period yielded to the Paleogene, it seems that all nonavian dinosaurs suddenly ceased to exist.

Europe is relatively rich in fossils from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, and much of what is known about European dinosaurs dates from this time. During the.

The term Paleocene dinosaurs describes families or genera of non-avian dinosaurs that may have survived the Cretaceous—Paleogene extinction event , which occurred 66 million years ago. Although almost all evidence indicated that birds are the only dinosaur group that survived past the K—Pg boundary , there is some scattered evidence that some non-avian dinosaurs lived for a short period of time during the Paleocene epoch. The evidence for Paleocene non-avian dinosaurs is rare and remains controversial, although at least one non- neornithine ornithuran , Qinornis , is known from the Paleocene.

Several researchers have stated that some non-avian dinosaurs survived into the Paleocene and therefore the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs was gradual. There is possible evidence of a dead clade walking: in , evidence was presented that pollen samples recovered near a fossilized hadrosaur femur recovered in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone at the San Juan River indicate that the animal lived during the Paleogene period , approximately As yet no such finds have been reported.

Dinosaur Apocalypse : Documentary on the Extinction of the Dinosaurs

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