195 to 135 Million Years Ago
Great plant-eating dinosaurs roaming the earth, feeding on lush growths of ferns and palm-like cycads and bennettitaleans... smaller but vicious meat-eaters stalking the great plant-eaters... oceans full of fish, squid, and coiled ammonites, plus great ichthyosaurs and long-necked plesiosaurs... vertebrates taking to the air, like the pterosaurs and the first birds... this was the Jurassic Period, beginning 195 million years ago and lasting for 60 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Named for the Jura Mountains on the border between France and Switzerland, where rocks of this age were first studied, the Jurassic has become a household word with the success of the blockbuster movie from the middle of 1990s. Outside of Hollywood, the Jurassic is still important to us today, both because of its wealth of fossils and because of its economic importance -- the oilfields of the North Sea, for instance, are Jurassic in age.
Subdivisions of the Jurassic:
The chart at left shows the major subdivisions of the Jurassic Period.