In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 9: Mass Extinction.
- Carry out an investigation that examines changes in Earth’s climate and biosphere 65 million years ago.
- Carry out an investigation that compares the body structures of modern organisms to extinct organisms.
- Obtain information about how catastrophic events in Earth’s history have resulted in mass extinctions.
Part A: Changes in Climate and Life at the End of the Mesozoic Era
To view information about paleoclimate before and after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, visit the following web sites:
Cretaceous: Tectonics and Paleoclimate, University of California Museum of Paleontology
A description of the paleoclimate in the Late Cretaceous
Late Cretaceous Climate versus Paleocene Climate, Paleomap Project
Compare the following maps:
Paleomap Project, Paleomap Project
Provides climate maps of the past 1,100 million years.
The Paleocene, Encyclopedia Britannica
Describes the climate that dominated at the onset of the Paleocene Epoch.
To view information about organisms living before and after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, visit the following web sites:
Cretaceous Period: Life, University of California Museum of Paleontology
Description of the flora and fauna of the Late Cretaceous.
The End-Cretaceous (K-T) Extinction, Hooper Virtual Paleontology Museum
Describes the species affected by the catastrophic event that resulted in the mass extinction at the K-T boundary.
Paleocene Mammals of the World, Martin Jehle
The first 10 million years of the age of mammals.
- To learn more about the Mesozoic–Cenozoic boundary event, visit the following web sites:
Speculated Causes of the End-Cretaceous Extinction, Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum
Examines two popular hypotheses for the Mesozoic–Cenozoic boundary event.
Provides links to information on mass extinctions, including hypotheses for the Mesozoic–Cenozoic boundary event.
- To learn more about other mass-extinction events in Earth's history, visit the following web sites:
Mass Extinctions of the Phanerozoic, Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum
Examines the mass extinction events that occurred during the Phanerozoic.
The Big 5 Mass Extinctions, BBC Nature
Summary of big 5 mass extinction events from the Cambrian to the Tertiary.
To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:
The Extinction Event at the End of the Mesozoic
A Blast from the Past, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Looks at the mass extinction at the end the Cretaceous period (at the end of the Mesozoic Era) and the beginning of the Tertiary Period (early Cenozoic Era).
The End-Cretaceous (K-T) Extinction, Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum
Examines the Mesozoic–Cenozoic mass extinction.
The Causes of Extinction
Mass Extinctions, Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum
Provides a short discussion about mass extinctions.
Causes of Mass Extinctions, Penn State University
Detailed website offering information on the causes of extinctions and possible future events.
How we found the Chicxulub Crater, Mexico, Discover Magazine
Article provides useful background on the how the dinosaur doomsday site was discovered.
Chicxulub Crater, Mexico, and the Cretaceous - Tertiary boundary, University of California Museum of Paleontology
Essay includes section on the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico, and evidence of the Cretaceous - Tertiary boundary event that created it.