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Dinosaurs
Life in the Triassic Period



Life in the Triassic Period
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    herbivorous, prosauropod, prosauropods, Armor-plated, Ichthyosaurs, carnivore, beginning, Pterosaurs, reign, dorsal, evergreen, spikes, plant-eating, evidence, fossil, crocodile
     content words:    Triassic Period, Armor-plated Actosaurs, Jurassic Period


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Life in the Triassic Period
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     The Triassic Period was the beginning of the dinosaurs' reign on earth. The Triassic period began with all of the land pushed together into the one giant continent called Pangaea. It ended with the land splitting up into the continents much like they are today. During the Triassic period the climate was dry and hot, and much of the middle section of Pangaea was a desert.
 
2     At the beginning of the Triassic Period, there were already many plants and animals living on earth. Plant life included giant ferns, evergreen trees, and trees that looked a lot like today's tropical palm trees. Insects had been here for some time. Now there were also mammals, and especially reptiles. Turtles, frogs, salamanders, and lizards had all found a habitat on earth. So had marine reptiles.
 
3     Since this was such a long time ago, there were probably many plants and animals that we don't know about yet, but we do know about lots of them from fossil evidence. For instance, we know that a four-foot long crocodile, called Protosuchus, lived in what is now the state of Arizona at that time. The earliest turtle that we know about is called Proganochelys; its fossils were found in both Germany and Thailand. From the fossils, scientists can tell that Proganochelys was about two feet long, had no teeth, and had protective spikes around its neck. It had a long tail with a club at the end, like some dinosaurs you have probably heard of. It probably lived near a pond.

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