The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that spans 56.3 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles, the start of the period is marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. The Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, by the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses, Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. This created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, on land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds also appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs, other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, and the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to a mode of life. The oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, the chronostratigraphic term Jurassic is directly linked to the Jura Mountains. The name Jura is derived from the Celtic root jor, which was Latinised into juria, the Jurassic period is divided into the Early Jurassic, Middle, and Late Jurassic epochs. The Jurassic System, in stratigraphy, is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle, the separation of the term Jurassic into three sections goes back to Leopold von Buch. The Jurassic North Atlantic Ocean was relatively narrow, while the South Atlantic did not open until the following Cretaceous period, the Tethys Sea closed, and the Neotethys basin appeared. Climates were warm, with no evidence of glaciation, as in the Triassic, there was apparently no land over either pole, and no extensive ice caps existed. In contrast, the North American Jurassic record is the poorest of the Mesozoic, the Jurassic was a time of calcite sea geochemistry in which low-magnesium calcite was the primary inorganic marine precipitate of calcium carbonate. Carbonate hardgrounds were thus very common, along with calcitic ooids, calcitic cements, the first of several massive batholiths were emplaced in the northern American cordillera beginning in the mid-Jurassic, marking the Nevadan orogeny. Important Jurassic exposures are found in Russia, India, South America, Japan, Australasia. As the Jurassic proceeded, larger and more groups of dinosaurs like sauropods and ornithopods proliferated in Africa. Middle Jurassic strata are well represented nor well studied in Africa. Late Jurassic strata are also poorly represented apart from the spectacular Tendaguru fauna in Tanzania, the Late Jurassic life of Tendaguru is very similar to that found in western North Americas Morrison Formation. During the Jurassic period, the primary living in the sea were fish
Depiction of Early Jurassic environment preserved at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, with D. wetherilli in bird-like resting pose
Conifers were the dominant land plants of the Jurassic
Various dinosaurs roamed forests of similarly large conifers during the Jurassic period.