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The Rise and Fall of Rudist Reefs

Reefs of the dinosaur era were dominated not by corals but by odd mollusks, which died off at the end of the Cretaceous from causes yet to be discovered

Claudia Johnson

During the warm Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the continents, oddly shaped mollusks called rudists dominated the Earth’s shallow tropical seas, where they build massive reefs. The rudists’ reign lasted nearly until the end of the Cretaceous, just prior to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The author investigates whether the shifting climate and sea level at the time may have led to the rudists’ demise.


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