The Jurassic was the second geological period of the Mesozoic Era. It lasted from 201.3 to 145 million years ago.[1]


During the Early Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea started breaking up into the two continents Laurasia and Gondwana. The North Atlantic Ocean had also begun to form. Most of Europe was covered by a shallow, tropical sea, which is shown in the rocks found there.[2]


The climate in the Jurassic was warm, with no ice caps present on the planet. Sea levels were high, which meant large amounts of land were submerged beneath the ocean.


The arid conditions that were present during the Triassic were replaced with a more humid climate, which allowed lush foliage and vegetation to thrive.[3] Gymnosperms were the dominant type of flora, and conifers in particular were widespread.[4]


Due to the extinction of several major archosaur groups at the end of the Triassic, dinosaurs were able to thrive and evolve into many new forms. The Jurassic was a golden age for the sauropods, such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, but theropods (such as Allosaurus and Yangchuanosaurus) and ornithischians (such as Stegosaurus) also diversified.

The first salamanders and birds also appeared during the Jurassic.[5]


  1. Pieńkowski, G.; Schudack, M.E.; Bosák, P.; Enay, R.; Feldman-Olszewska, A.; Golonka, J.; Gutowski, J.; Herngreen, G.F.W.; Jordan, P.; Krobicki, M.; Lathuiliere, B.; Leinfelder, R.R.; Michalík, J.; Mönnig, E.; Noe-Nygaard, N.; Pálfy, J.; Pint, A.; Rasser, M.W.; Reisdorf, A.G.; Schmid, D.U.; Schweigert, G.; Surlyk, F.; Wetzel, A. & Theo E. Wong, T.E. 2008. Jurassic. In: McCann, T. (ed.): The Geology of Central Europe. Volume 2: Mesozoic and Cenozoic, Geological Society, pp.: 823-922; London.
  3. Haines, Tim (2000). Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History. New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7894-5187-5.
  4. Kazlev, M. Alan (2002) Palaeos website Accessed July. 22, 2008
  5. Carroll, R. L. (1988). Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. New York: WH Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-1822-7.