Mesozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 North America
 80 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 150% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 6x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 4C above modern level

Mesozoic Earth - A pair of Elasmosaurus engage in a swimming courtship dance in a secluded pool 80 million years ago - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Mesozoic
  Period: Cretaceous
   Epoch: Late
    Age: Campanian

     
 

Elasmosaurus courtship

A pair of 40-foot-long plesiosaurs of the genus Elasmosaurus engage in a swimming courtship dance in a secluded saltwater lagoon 80 million years ago in what is today North America.* The gull-like  toothed seabirds are from the genus Ichthyornis, the Cretaceous ecological equivalent of modern gulls, petrels, and skimmers.

At over two tons, Elasmosaurus was an air-breathing carnivorous reptile with flippers for limbs and a relatively small head with sharp teeth. More than half of its length was neck which had more than 70 vertebrae, more than any other animal.

*While Elasmosaurus is believed to have lived mostly in open ocean, here the artist is suggesting that these two have retreated to secluded lagoon for a romantic rendezvous, though there is no paleontological evidence supporting this behavior.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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