How to Live with Dinosaurs: Ecosystems Across the Mesozoic

Emanuel Tschopp, Daniel E. Barta, Winand Brinkmann, John R. Foster, Femke M. Holwerda, Susannah C. R. Maidment, Stephen F. Poropat, Torsten M. Scheyer, Albert G. Sellés, Bernat Vila, Marion Zahner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We continue our trip back in time through the Mesozoic, visiting several different ecosystems across the planet. Each of these was strongly influenced by the continental breakup from a single landmass into several tectonic plates and associated landmasses during this period. We will visit localities on several continents, observe how their vertebrate faunas changed over time, and what external factors might have contributed to these differences.

During the Cretaceous, we visit the Iberian Peninsula, where hadrosauroids replaced titanosaurs as the most abundant dinosaur taxon. On the other side of the planet, a succession of geologic formations in Australia shows a gradual change from aquatic to terrestrial faunas resulting from sea-level changes of a now non-existent inland ocean. A visit to two polar ecosystems indicates possible mutual exclusion between amphibians (temnospondyls) and reptiles (crocodylomorphs), because they occupied similar ecological niches. Observing the record of Cretaceous landscapes in what is now Mongolia shows how changes in environment and climate correlate with changes in faunal composition.

Heading back, we check if there are distinct differences in vertebrate diversity in space and time in the Late Jurassic of North America. Then we move south, to Argentina, and back to the Middle and Early Jurassic. Here, we will try to understand where these Late Jurassic faunas originated and what influence the fragmentation of the supercontinent Pangea had on their evolution and diversity. Finally, we will stop our trip in the Late Triassic of Central Europe, examining a typical vertebrate fauna from the time when dinosaurs began their domination of the planet.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationNature Through Time
EditorsEdoardo Martinetto, Emanuel Tschopp, Robert A. Gastaldo
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-35058-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-35057-4
StatePublished - 28 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameSpringer Textbooks in Earth Sciences, Geography and Environment
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISSN (Print)2510-1307
ISSN (Electronic)2510-1315


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