Behold the chicken, T. Rex’s closest living relative! Many scientists think birds are descendants of a group of dinosaurs called theropods. Did you expect the humble chicken to share a family tree with such a ferocious predator? Try our Summer Wonder Creativity Challenges to discover more about birds and dinosaurs.
They looked a little different in the Mesozoic Era, but snakes, lizards, and crocodilians slithered their way into the modern day. Some amphibians were also around, like frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians. (What are caecilians? Well, they kind of look like a cross between a snake and a worm.)
Sharks were doing shark things before dinosaurs came along. Clams, snails, lobsters, and crabs all began as early marine life that survived and evolved. The first prehistoric mammals laid eggs. Some still exist, like the duck-billed platypus and spiny anteaters or echidnas. And insects like the stubborn cockroach were alive before the dinosaurs.
So yes, there are land, air and sea animals alive right now that also lived a long, long time ago. Not to mention, lots of plants that you might know dotted the planet. Gingkos, pines, and cypress trees grew before flowering plants emerged. But even with these familiar markers, it was a world we would not recognize. Want to visit? Build a time machine!