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Bowman, ND, United States

Chin K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Pearson D.,Pioneer Trails Regional Museum | Ekdale A.A.,University of Utah
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The widespread mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous caused world-wide disruption of ecosystems, and faunal responses to the one-two punch of severe environmental perturbation and ecosystem collapse are still unclear. Here we report the discovery of in situ terrestrial fossil burrows from just above the impact-defined Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in southwestern North Dakota. The crisscrossing networks of horizontal burrows occur at the interface of a lignitic coal and silty sandstone, and reveal intense faunal activity within centimeters of the boundary clay. Estimated rates of sedimentation and coal formation suggest that the burrows were made less than ten thousand years after the end-Cretaceous impact. The burrow characteristics are most consistent with burrows of extant earthworms. Moreover, the burrowing and detritivorous habits of these annelids fit models that predict the trophic and sheltering lifestyles of terrestrial animals that survived the K/Pg extinction event. In turn, such detritus-eaters would have played a critical role in supporting secondary consumers. Thus, some of the carnivorous vertebrates that radiated after the K/Pg extinction may owe their evolutionary success to thriving populations of earthworms. © 2013 Chin et al. Source


Rook D.L.,Ohio State University | Rook D.L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Hunter J.P.,Ohio State University | Pearson D.A.,Pioneer Trails Regional Museum | Bercovici A.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes
Journal of Paleontology | Year: 2010

The Paleogene Order Taeniodonta Cope, 1876peculiar heavy-bodied mammals, some with ever-growing cheek teethare grouped with the Late Cretaceous eutherian Cimolestes Marsh, 1889, along with a host of other taxa in a superordinal group, the Cimolesta. Taeniodonts were thought to have arisen from Cimolestes indirectly, through Paleocene Procerberus Sloan and Van Valen, 1965. The recently described Paleocene Alveugena Eberle, 1999, until now known only from the upper dentition, has been put forth as a transitional form between cimolestids and taeniodonts on phylogenetic and biostratigraphic grounds. An older taeniodont, the Late Cretaceous Schowalteria Fox and Naylor, 2003, has since been described, complicating taeniodont origins. We describe here a lower jaw that we refer to Alveugena from the lower part of the Ludlow Member of the Fort Union Formation in North Dakota. The lower jaw comes from strata of early Early Paleocene age (Puercan 1 North American Land Mammal Age) ∼8.5 m above a Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, identified using palynological criteria. A cladistic analysis is here presented using new data on Schowalteria and Alveugena, added to that of Cimolestes, Procerberus formicarum Sloan and Van Valen, 1965, P. grandis Middleton and Dewar, 2004, and Onychodectes. This analysis revealed Alveugena as the sister taxon of the taeniodonts but with a closer relationship to Cimolestes than Procerberus, suggesting that taeniodonts evolved from a Cimolestes-like ancestor. We discuss the age relations of early taeniodonts and related taxa and propose a scenario of ancestor-descendent relations that minimizes, but does not eliminate, implied stratigraphic gaps. © 2010 The Paleontological Society. Source


Lyson T.R.,Yale University | Lyson T.R.,Marmarth Research Foundation | Joyce W.G.,University of Tubingen | Knauss G.E.,SWCA Environmental Consultants Inc | Pearson D.A.,Pioneer Trails Regional Museum
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2011

For over a century, the baenid turtle Boremys has been recognized as being restricted to the Campanian of North America. Herein we describe new material of Boremys sp. from the Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian) and Fort Union Formation (Puercan) of southwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana, increasing the stratigraphic range of this taxon by 11 million years. The material was recovered from the base of the Hell Creek Formation to 14 m above the pollen-calibrated K/T boundary in the basal Fort Union Formation. Most of the specimens consist of isolated shell elements, which are easily misidentified as belonging to a kinosternid or chelydrid turtle, but complete shells are present as well. The presence of Boremys sp. in the Hell Creek formation increases the baenid taxonomic diversity of this particular rock unit to nine and the overall turtle diversity to 20 taxa, and the presence of Boremys sp. in the Fort Union Formation increases the number of baenid lineages that survive the K/T extinction event to eight. © 2011 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Source


Lyson T.R.,Yale University | Lyson T.R.,Marmarth Research Foundation | Bercovici A.,Wuhan University | Chester S.G.B.,Yale University | And 4 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

Modern debate regarding the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs was ignited by the publication of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) asteroid impact theory and has seen 30 years of dispute over the position of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur. A zone devoid of dinosaur fossils reported from the last 3 m of the Upper Cretaceous, coined the '3 m gap', has helped drive controversy. Here, we report the discovery of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur specimen: a ceratopsian brow horn found in a poorly rooted, silty, mudstone floodplain deposit located no more than 13 cm below the palynologically defined boundary. The K-T boundary is identified using three criteria: (i) decrease in Cretaceous palynomorphs without subsequent recovery, (ii) the existence of a 'fern spike', and (iii) correlation to a nearby stratigraphic section where primary extraterrestrial impact markers are present (e.g. iridium anomaly, spherules, shocked quartz). The in situ specimen demonstrates that a gap devoid of non-avian dinosaur fossils does not exist and is inconsistent with the hypothesis that non-avian dinosaurs were extinct prior to the K-T boundary impact event. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source


Bercovici A.,Lund University | Vajda V.,Lund University | Pearson D.,Pioneer Trails Regional Museum | Villanueva-Amadoz U.,Instituti Of Geologia | And 2 more authors.
Palynology | Year: 2012

This study documents the terrestrial palynological record at the John's Nose section, a new Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary site in North Dakota, USA. In addition to Mud Buttes and Pyramid Butte, John's Nose represents the third K-Pg section in southwestern North Dakota that preserves direct evidence of the Chicxulub asteroid impact, allowing for direct comparison over the timing and trends of the palynological record in respect to this event. The palynological analysis of John's Nose section reveals the presence of 68 pollen and spore taxa. Immediately above the boundary clay, a high abundance of fern spores of the genera Cyathidites and Laevigatosporites is recorded (with 59% of the assemblage being represented by Cyathidites). This very distinctive K-Pg fern spike event is correlated with the devastation of land plants immediately following the asteroid impact and matches the composition generally reported from other sites in southwestern North Dakota. Palynostratigraphy demonstrates that the placement of the K-Pg boundary based upon the identification of the Last Appearance Datum (LAD) of typical Maastrichtian taxa (K-taxa) may be misleading. The presence of occasional K-taxa up to a few meters above the boundary clay at John's Nose represents an important difference when compared to previous reports. In light of this observation, LADs should be used cautiously as the primary criteria to identify the boundary; some K-taxa may have a short-term presence in the earliest Paleogene, or be reworked. In the John's Nose section, major changes and extinction in the palynological record occur at the geochemical K-Pg boundary, indicating that a catastrophic turnover took place over a short time. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

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