Q:

What happened at the end of the Mesozoic Era, but not at the end of the Paleozoic Era?

A:

Quick Answer

While both the Mesozoic and Paleozoic Eras ended with mass extinctions, the Mesozoic ended at approximately the same time a massive meteor is believed to have hit the Earth. This probably caused drastic climate change, killing off most of the dinosaurs and many other species.

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Full Answer

The Paleozoic Era saw the development of higher and complex life forms: plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. These creatures were mostly adapted to shallow water and swampy land. When Pangaea broke apart and these ecosystems began shrinking, it may have caused a massive die-off. The Mesozoic – the era when dinosaurs, mammals and seeded plants developed – had relatively stable ecosystems that changed slowly. A sudden drastic event, likely an asteroid collision or a massive volcanic explosion, caused rapid climate change to which most animals could not adapt.

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