Cretaceous Period (Sample Lesson)
The Mesozoic Era can be divided into three periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Together these span a huge part of Earth’s history, from approximately 250 to 65 million years ago. Of this time, the Cretaceous period occurred from approximately 145 million years ago to 66 million years ago, and the period ends abruptly with a devastating mass-extinction event which sees many species of dinosaur lost forever.
Welcome to the Cretaceous period – a time of massive change on planet Earth. Huge dinosaurs roamed the land and slowly, over millions of years, the huge Pangea of land split up into the continents we know today. By the end of the Cretaceous period, vast oceans covered the Earth and a huge variety of creatures covered the world.
⚠ MISSION OBJECTIVE
Your mission is to explore the Cretaceous period to discover the kinds of creatures that lived there, the plants and animals that thrived there and, ultimately, how they became extinct. The three stages of your mission are:
- Cretaceous Creatures
- Life on Cretaceous Earth
- Extinction Event
The Cretaceous period was a time of huge change all over the planet. As the continents began to split and move, they created huge coasts and wide oceans that gradually caused the planet to become cooler and the atmosphere to become wetter.
The changing climate caused a lot of changes in the animals and plants on the planet’s surface as well.
Explore a 3D model of a Triceratops skull below:
While it may look similar in a lot of ways, life on Earth millions of years ago was very different.
The plants and animals that adapted to live in the Cretaceous period would have to be able to survive in much warmer, wetter conditions than those that lived before them.
Explore the Cretaceous period scene and look for clues that might tell you about life on Earth during this time. Think about:
- The climate
- The plants you can find
- Any similarities to modern-day Earth
Towards the end of the Cretaceous period, scientists have discovered that all of the dinosaurs disappeared in what is known as a mass extinction.
Your next task is to try and find out what happened.
Enter the Cretaceous period scene once more and look for evidence of what might have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. While scientists still are not completely sure, there are clues here – look around for anything that could have changed the planet so quickly!