The Cretaceous Period and What it was

Have you ever heard of the cretaceous (pronounced k-r-ih-t-ai-sh—ai-s) period, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth? Well whether you have or you haven’t here is everything you need to know to help you understand what this time on our planet was all about. Ready?

Let’s go!


What was the Cretaceous Period?

The cretaceous period was a time in history when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, for the last time. During this time, the Earth’s climate changed dramatically. It became cooler with rain and snow starting to appear. There were even glaciers that were formed.
Did you know that the cretaceous period was 145 million years ago. Wow, that is a long, long time ago.

At this time, the continents were drifting away from each other, and that meant that dinosaurs began to change, or evolve and become more different from each other.


Then in the middle of the cretaceous period, volcanoes began to erupt all over the place. A lot of carbon dioxide was shot out into the air and warmed the planet, and was one of the warmest periods in the history of the Earth. But the poles were super cold still, where temperatures dropped well below freezing.

There were herbivores (plant eating), omnivores (plant and meat eating) and carnivores (meat eating) dinosaurs. During this time, many plants, flowers and insects popped up, making it a real happy place for those herbivores and omnivores. Life sure was a bit easier for them now! Bees started buzzing about doing their work, and by the end of the cretaceous period, most of the plants were flowering ones. Now that’s pretty cool. Good old bees.


Of course dinosaurs ruled the Earth during this time, but some mammals started to make themselves known. The mammals were still small, and there weren’t too many of them. One of the animals that did super well at this time was birds…they ate small insects and mammals as well as fish. They became mighty powerful, and pushed the poor pterodactyls to the side, making way for them to rule the Earth.

What dinosaurs lived in the Cretaceous Period?

Plant eating Dinosaurs

• Ankylosaurus
• Ceratops
• Corythosaurus
• Edmontosaurus
• Euoplocephalus
• Iguanodon
• Maiasaura
• Minmi
• Notoceratops
• Ornithomimus
• Protoceratops
• Saurolophus
• Stegoceras
• Styracosaurus
• Triceratops

Omnivore Dinosaurs

• Gallimimus
• Ornithomimus
• Troodon
• Wannanosaurus

Carnivorous Dinosaurs

• Albertosaurus
• Baryonyx
• Carnotaurus
• Deinonychus
• Giganotosaurus
• Spinosaurus
• Tyrannosaurus Rex
• Tyrannotitan
• Velociraptor


When did the Cretaceous Period End?

About 65 million years ago, the cretaceous period literally came to an end. A massive big meteorite smashed into Earth. It made one super huge crater that was more than 110 miles across (180 km). Wow that’s one massive crater, but the meteorite was even bigger than that. Scientists think it was more than 6 miles across (10 km). Whoa! But there are still some arguments around the world as to whether it was a meteorite, asteroid or a comet that brought this period to an end. So no one really knows for sure!


Fun Facts about the Cretaceous Period

Here are some super cool facts to make you the smartest kids on the block when it comes to the cretaceous period! Enjoy.

A dinosaur that was called a Quetzalcoatlus decided to hop on board during this period. Wow, now that’s a name to try and wrap your head around. However, it wasn’t a dinosaur but a flying reptile that was also called a pterosaur. It had a wingspan of nearly 40 feet (12 m), making it the largest animal to ever fly. Wow that’s seriously big.

If you know the movie Jurassic Park, then three of the stars of the movie made their appearance during this time. They were the Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor. Lucky we weren’t there to try and run away from some of these fearful creatures!

The T-Rex which was the "tyrant lizard king" was one seriously scary predator who evolved during the late Cretaceous. They grew to nearly 40 feet (12 m in length). They weighed about 5 tonnes and could open their jaws 1 m wide. That would not be such a cool thing to see!

When you compare Velociraptors to the mighty T-Rex, then this one was a baby. They were only 6 feet (1.8 m) in length and weighed about 33 pounds (15 kg). 33 pounds is about the weight of a cinder block, just to give you an idea. They were seriously fast though, so you’d have a tough time keeping up with them.

The Triceratops is certainly well-known for its 3 horns. He decided to appear in the late cretaceous period. He was about 30 feet (9 m) long and weighed up to 10 tonnes. You’ve probably seen pictures of these, and besides those 3 deadly horns, they also had a bony frill behind their head. The Triceratops munched on plants.

So, now you should be all clued-up on the cretaceous period. Wait for that next school project and you’ll ace it!