Dinosaurs captured the herbivorous niches on land during the Triassic

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The warfare between plants and herbivores began on land 400 million years ago, when the first algae colonized the bare ground during the Silurian Period and the herbivorous arthropods evolved to follow them. (animatronic dinosaur costume)Vertebrate plant-eaters on land appeared much later, during the last epochs of the Coal Age, 270 million years ago. Dinosaurs captured the herbivorous niches on land during the Triassic, 200 million years ago, and subsequently maintained their dominance through the entire Jurassic and Cretaceous. But how did dinosaurs coevolve in relation to the plants of their world?

 

Dinosaurs held the roles of large land herbivores for longer than any other vertebrate group, so there must have been a rich history of adaptive attack and counterattack between plant-eater and plant. Moreover, herbivorous dinosaurs suffered several episodes of extinction and adaptive revolution that must also have been reflected in contemporary plant systems. (dinosaur factory)And there was a momentous development in the plants during the Mesozoic, for the Jurassic and Cretaceous witnessed the single greatest event in the evolution of the modern system of plants—a turning point that must have changed the life of every plant-munching dinosaur—the appearance of the flowering plants.

 

Today flowering plants, known collectively as angiosperms, are by far the most numerous of land foilage, literally thousands of species, including nearly all the plants that feed mankind and our mammalian relatives. (life size dinosaur)So numerous are angiosperms that to the average person, the term “plant” is synonymous with “flowering plant.” Oaks, birches, maples, and all the other broad-leafed trees are angiosperms, as are nearly all the berry-producing bushes and shrubs.

 

Palms, grasses, sedges, and dandelions also belong to the angio-sperms, as do tulips and all the other species with showy flowers: squash, beans, coconuts, lilies-of-the-valley, peaches, apples, oranges, rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, potatoes, scallions, leeks, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and thousands more. (life like dinosaur)All angiosperms are members of one natural group, descended from a common ancestor that first appeared at the midpoint of the dinosaurs’ reign.