The biggest were the dinosaurs

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At the end of the Jurassic period and the beginning of the Cretaceous, (walking dinosaur costume)the eastern part of the northern continent, in the area where China now lies, was beginning to break up. The continental surface was split by fault lines, running north-east to south-west, which produced rift valleys. These rift valleys contained lakes. the water of these lakes was clear, and the only sediment was from very fine particles. In quiet times the valleys were filled with lush forests of long-needled conifers and ginkgoes. Horse-tails, ferns and mosses flourished around the lake edges. This environment supported an astonishing assortment of animals. The biggest were the dinosaurs. A similarly important fossil lake site is known from Messel,near Frankfurt,in Germany.(dinosaur equipment) The Eocene lake lay in a depression formed by the earth movements that produced the nearby Rhine valley. Volcanic gases periodically poisoned the water and the air round about. The lake deposited shales contain a remarkable collection of early Tertiary mammals, birds, fish and insects. The sterile waters resulted in the fine preservation of hair and feathers, and even the coloration of insect wings. These specimens were gradually uncovered as the shales were exploited for the oil they contained. There were also true birds, some of which still had primitive claws on the wings. These smaller creatures hunted the swarms of insects that lived close to the water.


We know of the existence of these animals because the mode of preservation is so fine that even the finest structures are visible.(animatronic dinosaur)Every now and again the volcanoes that formed along the fault lines would erupt, engulfing the valleys in poisonous gas and showering the lakes with a thick deposit of ash. Classed by volcanic fumes and buried in fine volcanic ash, the smallest details of skin and feathers have been preserved around the almost perfectly articulated skeletons. We also have the fossils of their insect prey, and all sorts of other animals, such as turtles and other swimming reptiles, and also early mammals, that lived in the area.