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Eberth D.A.,Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology | Bell P.R.,University of New England of Australia
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2014

Although considerable work has been conducted on the stratigraphy and dinosaur assemblages of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of southern Alberta, equivalent strata and assemblages in central Alberta remain poorly understood. Data from the Danek Bonebed (Edmonton, Alberta) are beginning to fill this gap. The bonebed occurs 4mabove the #9 Big Island Coal Seam. This stratigraphic position lies just below the middle of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in the Edmonton region, and also lies below a thick, stratigraphically significant non-coaly interval that is expressed throughout central and southern Alberta. The stratigraphic position of the Danek Bonebed equates best with the uppermost Horsethief Member of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in the Drumheller region and the upper part of Unit 4 of the Wapiti Formation in the Grande Prairie region. In both Drumheller and Grande Prairie, the correlated position of the bonebed underlies a zone of marine transgression (Drumheller Marine Tongue), which, in turn, includes the Campanian–Maastrichtian boundary. In the context of Geologic Time Scale 2004, we infer a late Campanian age of 71.0–71.3 Ma for the bonebed. The Danek’s dinosaurian assemblage is limited taxonomically, but compares well with the Edmontosaurus regalis – Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis fossil assemblage zone in the Drumheller region. We propose that a mega-herbivore faunal assemblage, characterized by Edmontosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus, extended continuously across the climatically wet coastal plain of latest Campanian southern and central Alberta, and likely extended northwest into the North Slope of Alaska, where it persisted into the early Maastrichtian. © 2014, National Research Council of Canada. All rights reserved.

Eberth D.A.,Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

Upper Cretaceous dinosaur bonebeds are common in Alberta, Canada, and have attracted continuous scientific attention since the 1960s. Since its inception, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology has documented the presence of hundreds of these sites and has been involved directly in the scientific study of many tens. Because many of these bonebeds have been used to address questions about the paleobiology and paleoecology of dinosaurs, questions have arisen about bonebed origins and preservation in the Cretaceous of Alberta. This study of 260 bonebeds delineates broad paleoenvironmental settings and associations, and taphonomic signatures of assemblages as a first step in assessing patterns of dinosaur bonebed origins in the Upper Cretaceous of Alberta. Bonebeds are known predominantly from the Belly River Group and the Horseshoe Canyon, lower St. Mary River, Wapiti, and Scollard formations. In these units, bonebeds are mostly associated with river channel and alluvial wetland settings that were influenced by a subtropical to warm-temperate, monsoonal climate. Most bonebeds formed in response to flooding events capable of killing dinosaurs, reworking and modifying skeletal remains, and burying taphocoenoses. The “coastal-plain-flooding hypothesis,” proposed in 2005, suggested that many bonebeds in the Dinosaur Park Formation formed in response to the effects of recurring coastal-plain floods that submerged vast areas of ancient southern Alberta on a seasonal basis. It remains the best mechanism to explain how many of the bonebeds were formed and preserved at Dinosaur Provincial Park, and here, is proposed as the mechanism that best explains bonebed origins in other Upper Cretaceous formations across central and southern Alberta. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada. All Rights Reserved.

Gardner J.D.,Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

The frog Tyrrellbatrachus brinkmani, gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of seven incomplete maxillae from vertebrate microfossil localities in the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Dinosaur Park Formation, in the Dinosaur Provincial Park area, southeastern Alberta, Canada. The maxillae are distinctive in a unique suite of features related to size, shape, and proportions of the bone, texture of the labial surface, form of the surface for inferred contact with the squamosal, form of the lamina horizontalis and the processus pterygoideus, relative depth of the crista dentalis, and in being edentulous (i.e., lacking teeth). The higher level affinities of Tyrrellbatrachus are uncertain, although certain features exclude it from several known families; for example, the presence of a processus pterygoideus excludes it from Gobiatidae (Late Cretaceous, Asia), whereas the presence of a crista dentalis and of a relatively unreduced pars facialis exclude it from Pipidae (Cretaceous–Recent, Africa and South America). The lack of teeth in Tyrrellbatrachus is notable because although tooth loss is widespread among extant anurans and has arisen independently multiple times, it has rarely been documented among Mesozoic anurans. Comparisons with the only other edentulous anuran from the Mesozoic of the Northern Hemisphere, namely Theatonius (late Campanian – late Maastrichtian, western USA), reveal no compelling similarities to support a close relationship between the two genera. Those taxa represent an early (Campanian) instance of independent tooth loss in anurans and, potentially, the oldest record of tooth loss in nonpipid anurans. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada. All Rights Reserved.

Neuman A.G.,Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

The Sulphur Mountain Formation in Alberta, Canada, comprises shales, siltstones, and limestones laid down on the continental shelf and shoreline along the western margin of the North American Craton during the Early and Middle Triassic. At least 13 taxa of fossil marine fishes have been found at a number of Triassic localities along the Front Ranges and foothills in Alberta. Common taxa (Boreosomus, Birgeria, Bobasatrania, Australosomus, Saurichthys, parasemionotids, and coelacanths) found at localities in Alberta are similar to those found at the classic Lower and Middle Triassic localities near Wapiti Lake, British Columbia, and in East Greenland, Spitzbergen, Madagascar, and China. The occurrence of Lower Triassic fishes in western Alberta shows that this fauna was widespread, occurring over at least 1000 km of shoreline, and that ecological and environmental factors were similar along the western edge of the Panthalassic Ocean during the Early Triassic. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada. All Rights Reserved.

Henderson D.M.,Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

A very rare 11.2 m long wide-gauge trackway, made by an as yet undetermined large mammal, is described from the Lacombe Member (Late Paleocene) of the Paskapoo Formation (Paleocene). The exposure of the trackway was connected with the record-setting floods of 2013 in the province of Alberta as the tracks were exposed close to the base of the Brazeau Dam in west-central Alberta. The tracks are preserved on the top surface of a siltstone, but extensive erosion of the tracks resulted in the removal of details such as claw and digit traces, as well as any heel or palm impressions. The tracks are all circular to subcircular in outline, and it is not possible to determine the direction of travel of the trackmaker. Sequences of distinct pairings of adjacent tracks on both the left and right set of traces are present, and these are interpreted to represent manus-pes couples. The tracks do not show any overprinting. The mean pace angulations of the two best preserved sections range from 113° to 125°, while their mean stride lengths range from 95 to 96 cm. The lack of any distinctive anatomical details being preserved in the tracks prevents a precise identification of the trackmaker, but the sizes, shapes, and age of the tracks suggest that they could have been made by a large pantodont. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada. All Rights Reserved.

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