Dinosaur Family Tree
During the Paleozoic Era (542 to 248 million years ago), which is itself divided into various periods (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian), the first fish, and later amphibians, reptiles and mammal-like reptiles, all appeared. At the the end of the Paleozoic Era, there was some terrible disaster (the "Permian mass extinction") when many creatures became extinct.
Next came the Mesozoic Era (248 to 65 million years ago), which is itself divided into three periods (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous).
The chart below shows possible relationships between the main groups of vertebrates:
(to see how different types of dinosaurs are related to each other, please see dinosaur classification).
Note: This diagram is greatly simplified, based in part on speculation, and the depicted dates of branches/evolutionary-splits and extinctions may not always be exactly correct.
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