Magazine article Natural History

Triassic Park

Magazine article Natural History

Triassic Park

Article excerpt

The Mesozoic Era, which spans from about 251 million to 65 million years ago, encompasses the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods, all associated with the so-called Age of Dinosaurs. In the early stages of the Triassic, however, dinosaurs did not yet dominate the Earth. Although some dinosaurs started to appear by 220 million years ago, in the Upper Triassic Epoch, they were rare and small. What animals filled the ecological niches later taken over by dinosaurs?

While remnants of the Lower and Middle Triassic strata have been uncovered in Antarctica and Africa, one of the next places to pick up the fossil record is in the United States. Paleontologist Christian Sidor and his team from the University of Washington's Burke Museum have been excavating at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-home to an exemplary sequence of Triassic rocks and fossils. …

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