Who was boss before the dinosaurs?
Who was boss before the dinosaurs? Large hippo-like mammal forerunner ("Placerias") that lived, and died off, during the Triassic. (National Park Service Image)
Who was boss before the dinosaurs?
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The Jurassic witnessed a world populated by dinosaurs. While giant plant-eaters munched their way through ferns and conifer forests, large carnivores chased them down for lunch.
 
At the height of the Age of Dinosaurs, they were found on every continent. They thrived in the warm environments of the time.
 
But, dinosaurs were not always so prominent. Fossil evidence shows that they arose about 230 million years ago during the Triassic period. But they remained scarce as other reptiles took center stage. Many mammal forerunners, such as the large plant-eater Placerias, prospered. Huge crocodile-like animals like Smilosuchus were the top predators of the Triassic.
 
Paleontologists who study the fossil record have discovered that something big happened 200 million years ago. It radically changed life on land and in the sea. And it paved the way for dinosaur diversification and prominence.
 
What happened was so important that it caused more than half of all life on Earth to go extinct. The large crocodile-like reptiles that had dominated the landscape were eliminated. So were many of the mammal forerunners.
 
Find out more about the events that opened the door for the Age of Dinosaurs. Join us on Thursday, October 8, 2015, for a "Smithsonian Science How" live webcast on How Fossils Explain the Rise of Dinosaurs. It is airing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT on the Q?rius website. Paleontologist Dr. Hans Sues from the National Museum of Natural History will appear live to discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/who-was-boss-dinosaurs/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
To study dinosaurs, why do scientists rely on fossils instead of photographs?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (133)
  • angelinaf-ver
    9/24/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    I thought this article was very cool and interesting! I had no idea that there was such thing as an animal that was a large crocodile-like animal!

  • camacho,venus-cas
    9/24/2015 - 09:11 a.m.

    1.Scientists relied on fossils in order to study how the dinosaurs were made up and how large they were in order to try to develop an idea of how they lived.
    2.I think its really cool how we are able to discover fossils of animals that lived even before these dinosaurs.

  • patrickp1-wil
    9/24/2015 - 11:07 a.m.

    because there weren't photographs

  • tobinh1-wil
    9/24/2015 - 11:07 a.m.

    Because back in the times of dinosaurs there was no people we didn't even have the internet so how do we get photographs anyways that is why we study the fossils.

  • jakeh1-wil
    9/24/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    Scientists rely on fossils because scientists can rebuild dinosaurs,to see what they looked liked.

  • andrewr2-wil
    9/24/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    Scientists rely on fossils because all fossils were all once a living thing. Using the minerals and DNA in the fossils, scientists will be able... To be continued...

  • nevaehm-
    9/24/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    what does diversification mean

  • k'lap-
    9/24/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    Scientist rely on fossils instead of photographs because the dinosaurs where around when people where not so nobody owns a factual photograph, fossils are the only things that are guaranteed true to study from.

  • justinw-969174-
    9/24/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    because fossils show more

    • aburch-fra
      10/15/2015 - 11:21 a.m.

      I like fosols

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