Q:

What happened at the end of the Mesozoic Era, but not at the end of the Paleozoic Era?

A:

Quick Answer

While both the Mesozoic and Paleozoic Eras ended with mass extinctions, the Mesozoic ended at approximately the same time a massive meteor is believed to have hit the Earth. This probably caused drastic climate change, killing off most of the dinosaurs and many other species.

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Full Answer

The Paleozoic Era saw the development of higher and complex life forms: plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. These creatures were mostly adapted to shallow water and swampy land. When Pangaea broke apart and these ecosystems began shrinking, it may have caused a massive die-off. The Mesozoic – the era when dinosaurs, mammals and seeded plants developed – had relatively stable ecosystems that changed slowly. A sudden drastic event, likely an asteroid collision or a massive volcanic explosion, caused rapid climate change to which most animals could not adapt.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What caused the Paleozoic Era to end?

    A:

    The Paleozoic Era, which marked the appearance of almost all animal phyla within a few million years, was ended by a mass extinction. The mass extinction was the virtual opposite of what started the era, with over 90 percent of the world's life being wiped out. Recovery from this mass extinction took almost 30 million years.

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  • Q:

    What animals lived during the Paleozoic Era?

    A:

    During the Paleozoic Era, there were multi-cellular organisms like trilobites, mollusks, jawless fish, seaweeds and finally, jawed fish, sharks, plants and early amphibians and reptiles. At the beginning, there was an increase in diversity of multi-celled animals, while the end of the era was marked by the largest mass extinction in history.

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  • Q:

    What are most periods of the Paleozoic era named after?

    A:

    The periods of the Paleozoic Era were named for the locations, mostly in Great Britain, where rocks associated with them were found, according to the University of Oklahoma. The Cambrian Period, for example, is derived from the ancient Latin name for Wales, which has extensive Cambrian deposits.

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  • Q:

    How long did the Mesozoic Era last?

    A:

    The Mesozoic Era lasted approximately 185.5 million years; it began around 251 million years ago with the Triassic Period, and it remained until 65.5 million years ago with the end of the Cretaceous Period. The Mesozoic Era contained three distinct time periods: the Jurassic Period followed the Triassic Period, spanning a time frame of 199.6 to 145.5 million years ago, while the Cretaceous Period ended the Mesozoic Era.

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