Terrestrial ecosystems: Mesozoic plant and animal communities (November 12 & 14)

We are now returning to the Mesozoic, this time on land. Our topics will include the terrestrial recovery biota from the massive Permian extinctions (note that plants did not apparently suffer that much in the Permian extinctions), Mesozoic vertebrate paleoecology on land (including an introduction to the archosaurs and a diversification in part due to the break-up of Pangaea), and the complex relationships between the new angiosperm plants and their animal pollen vectors. (In an article that came out just this week, paleontologists announced the discovery of the earliest known pollinating animal, an insect in amber 99 million years old.) Dinosaur paleoecology will happen.

Here’s an 11-minute review of Mesozoic life.

Geology in the News —

A fossil ape has been found in Germany that may change the way we understand the origin of bipedality in our lineage. Danuvius guggenmosi has, to simplify, arms for swinging in the trees and legs of “walking”, apparently on branches.

Axolotls, famed amphibian examples of neoteny, are endangered in their native Mexico. Somehow they made headlines on the BBC Travel page.

Was Equisetum a superfood in the Mesozoic?