Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Dinosaur - After the Mesozoicc

Soon after the demise of the dinosaurs dense forests, including rainforests, appeared. The authorSoon after the demise of the dinosaurs dense forests, including rainforests, appeared. The author3 suggests this may have been the result of the removal of the sauropods that would have had a big impact on the trees of the time by feeding on them. At the present elephants change their habitats by knocking down trees to feed on the leaves they canít reach and it has been suggested that sauropods could have had such an effect, though on a much larger scale.

Immediately following the extinction of the dinosaurs there were no large terrestrial animals and only the large crocodilians could survive by feeding on fish. In the tropics the loss of the dinosaurs led to the evolution of very large superboa snakes that were as long as the longest of the biggest theropods and weighing more than a tonne. The brief time that these snakes were the biggest terrestrial predators has been called a second Age of Reptiles. The author3 suggests the main prey of these giant snakes were probably the crocodilians, of which there was a diverse range at this time, some of which were semiterrestrial, and mammals that that were rapidly increasing in size. It has been found that by 40 Ma, about 25 million years after the demise of the dinosaurs, some of the terrestrial and marine mammals were evolving into giants that rivaled the dinosaurs in size.

Among the survivors of the Dinosauria were a number of birds that had lost the power of flight becoming large land runners and marine swimmers. According to the author3 Ďthe main story of Cenozoic dinosaurs has been their governance of the daylight skies, while the night has been dominated by mammalian fliers, the batsí. He suggests the greatest success of the flying dinosaurs of the present is the great diversity and large numbers of  the small, sophisticated passerine songbirds.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Long, John A, 1998, Dinosaurs of Australia and New Zealand, University of New South Wales Press.
  2. Norman, David, 2005, Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press
  3. Paul, Gregory S., 2010, The Princeton Field guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 17/01/2012 



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