Cretaceous Period - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Animal Sciences

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Cretaceous Period

The Cretaceous period is the third of the three divisions of the Mesozoic era of the geologic time scale. The period lasted 79 million years, from 144 million to 65 million years ago. The Cretaceous is named for chalk beds found in England.

Era Period Epoch Million Years Before Present
Mesozoic Cretaceous 144
Jurassic 208
Triassic 245

Cretaceous and surrounding time periods.

Laurasia and Gondwanaland, the northern and southern landmasses that resulted from the initial breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, continued to separate from each other during the Cretaceous period. These landmasses also began to fragment within themselves to form our modern continents. Throughout most of the Cretaceous, North America was divided by a vast inland sea that extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.

Early in the Cretaceous, the climate was warm and semitropical, very much like at the end of the Jurassic period (144 million years ago). However, during the...

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This section contains 736 words
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Buy the Cretaceous Period Encyclopedia Article
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Cretaceous Period from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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