Historical Geology 102
Mesozoic Life Study Guide


After the "Mesozoic Life" lecture and readings you should be able to answer and discuss the following questions.

How does life in the sea differ before and after the Permian mass extinction?

What is the Mesozoic often called?

Describe the appearance of the four major marine reptiles.

Which modern marine animals do ichthyosaurs most closely resemble?

What are pterosaurs and why are they significant?

When do mammals first evolve?

What did the first mammals resemble?

When did cycads and ginkgos first evolve?

When did birds first evolve?

From which group of organisms did birds evolve?

How do we know that these fossils are actually birds?

Are birds really dinosaurs?

From which group of reptiles did dinosaurs evolve?

What does the word dinosaur literally mean?

What are the reptillian features found in dinosaurs?

How are dinosaurs like mammals?

Which is the first dinosaur?

What are the two major groups of dinosaurs?

To which modern groups do the pelvic structures of these two groups most resemble?

What are the two major groups of saurischians?

What Tyrannosaurus rex a predator?

What is special about the teeth of T. rex? What is the significance of this feature?

What is the unique feature of deinonychus?

Describe the stance of theropods.

What distinguishes the sauropods from other dinosaurs?

What does the term theropod mean?

What does the term ornithopod mean?

What is wrong with these terms as they are applied to dinosaurs?

What was the first scientifically described dinosaur?

What are the major groups of ornithopod dinosaurs?

What features distinguishes the stegosaurs, ankylosaurs and ceratopsians from other ornithopods?

Which is your favorite dinosaur?

What significant global evolutionary event occurred at the end of the Mesozoic?

What are some of the groups of organisms to be affected by the K-T mass extinction?

What is a mass extinction?

What is a gradual extinction?

What is a sudden extinction?

Describe the theory and evidence for the Impact Theory of the K-T mass extinction.

Describe the theory and evidence for the Deccan Traps Theory of the K-T mass extinction.

Describe the theory and evidence for the Gamma-Ray Burst Theory of the K-T mass extinction.

What are some of the major groups of organisms that survived the K-T mass extinction.