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Dinosaur eggshell and tooth enamel geochemistry from Mongolia



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

Shaena Montanari,Pennilyn Higgins & Mark A. Norell (2012)
Dinosaur eggshell and tooth enamel geochemistry as an indicator of
Mongolian Late Cretaceous paleoenvironments.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.12.004
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018212006736



The Late Cretaceous fossiliferous beds of Mongolia's Gobi Desert have
yielded spectacular articulated remains of a remarkable diversity of
fossil mammals, lizards, turtles, birds, and non-avian dinosaurs.
Paleoenvironmental interpretations of the deposits at these localities
have ranged from arid wind-blown dune fields to more mesic, moist
environments. Among the diversity of fossils, dinosaur eggshells and
teeth are commonly found at these localities. Dinosaur eggs, like
modern avian eggs, are constructed of biomineralized calcite (CaCO3)
and proteins, allowing carbon and oxygen stable isotopes to be
quantified to provide information about the environment in which the
egg-laying animals were living. Here it is shown that dinosaur
eggshell and teeth from the Djadokhta and Nemegt Formations have not
been significantly altered and reflect an environment of dry dunes
during deposition of the Djadokhta Formation and a more mesic stream
environment for conditions in the Nemegt Formation. Carbonate nodules
from the same eggshell-bearing layers also independently reflect a
similar environmental signal. This study represents the first
geochemical analysis of dinosaur remains from the Cretaceous of
Mongolia and illustrates the potential of utilizing dinosaur fossil
geochemistry of both eggs and teeth to reconstruct Mesozoic
environments.

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Highlights


► We use stable isotope geochemistry of dinosaur fossils to examine
paleoenvironments ► We compare dinosaur fossils across three
Cretaceous localities in Mongolia ► Geochemistry of fossils from
Djadokhta Formation reflect an environment of dry dunes ► Geochemistry
of fossils from Nemegt Formation reflect mesic stream environment ► We
illustrate the potential of dinosaur fossil geochemistry of both eggs
and teeth