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By Thom Holmes

"Dawn of the Dinosaur Age" offers the 1st act within the drama that will turn into the Mesozoic period, the Age of Reptiles. the increase of the 1st dinosaurs is the tale of chance and evolutionary innovation. the 1st dinosaurs, after residing within the shadows of bigger, extra dominant reptilian relatives, took good thing about significant mass extinctions on the finish of the Triassic interval to take over niches as soon as occupied by way of their predecessors. during doing so, dinosaurs quick radiated to common geographic levels and started an evolutionary path that resulted in the advance of 2 significant teams of dinosaurs, the Saurischia and Ornithischia.The overdue Triassic and Early Jurassic sessions have been a time of experimentation in dinosaur evolution because the earliest herbivorous and predaceous dinosaurs tailored more and more really expert physique types and life. "Dawn of the Dinosaur Age" explores the roots of the dinosaur genealogy and the life-style and radiation of the 1st carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs.

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Extra resources for Dawn of the Dinosaur Age

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Without the dinosaurs, the so-called “Age of Reptiles” may have become something entirely different—perhaps even an age of mammals. 5 million years ago. From the Late Triassic, when the earliest dinosaurs (as well as the first true mammals) first appeared, to the end of the Cretaceous Period, when they unceremoniously perished, dinosaurs and their closest kin ruled the planet. 5 million years and greatly influenced the course of evolution for other animals as well. It is appropriate to take a closer look at the anatomy of the dinosaurs before delving into their origins and earliest representatives, the story of which occupies much of the rest of this book.

As in Hyperodapedon, the sturdy skull and jaw of Trilophosaurus were adapted to cut and chew the tough kinds of vegetation that were common in the animal’s habitat. Curiously, Trilophosaurus did not have a lower temporal opening in its skull like other diapsids; this condition is believed to have evolved secondarily from an earlier skull structure that included the opening. Trilophosaurus had a sprawling posture, long digits reminiscent of modern reptiles, and a long, bony tail with stout chevrons along its caudal vertebrae.

What was revealed in these bones was a large, bulky, plant-eating dinosaur that measured almost 30 feet (9 m) long, with a small head affixed to a moderately long neck, a stout body, and a long, heavy tail. Von Huene’s famous paper describing Plateosaurus made him something of an international star among fossil hunters. The energetic German continued to work well into his eighties and named more new dinosaurs than any other paleontologist before or during his time. The discovery and understanding of the first carnivorous dinosaurs in Argentina is another story that involved decades of detective work.

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