Creatures of the Jurassic Period

by Virginia Quach, age 12

One day, about 65 million years ago, the skies got dark and the wind started to howl. Then a giant meteorite crashed into planet Earth. That explosion ended the dinosaurs forever.

My fellow writer, Giselle Sanchez, wrote about the Cretaceous time period , but I will talk about the period before: the Jurassic period.

The Jurassic period lasted from 200 to 145 million years ago. The name came from limestone that was in Europe’s sea at the time and eventually became part of the European Jura Mountains. Soon the climate started to change, leading to more plant and animal life during this period.

After the climate changed, fish and birds started to develop. Forests became more lush, and the sky more populated with several species of new flying reptiles. Sea creatures called ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs , pray on fish.

In 1676, the first dinosaur bones were discovered in England. The bones most likely came from a carnivore called Megalosaurus . Megalosaurus had a length of 30 feet and a height of 10 feet; they weighed at least one U.S. ton. They had a powerful jaw, sharp fangs, and long claws. These weapons helped them kill plant-eating dinosaurs. A long tail which probably swung from side-to-side while walking, helped the Megalosaurus keep its heavy body balanced.

In 1809, bones of a sauropod were found. The bones were first believed to have belonged to a marine animal. That is why this dinosaur’s name became Cetiosaurus , which means “whale lizard”. They are believed to have weighed 10 U.S. tons. The Cetiosaurus ’ thigh bone measured 6 feet, and its shoulder blade was over 5 feet. This dinosaur probably ate a lot in order to have enough power for its body.

Even though these dinosaurs from the Jurassic period are now extinct, we can still visit and see their magnificent bones at different museums around the world.

[Source: The Simpson Street Free Press Archives ]