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Clovery Formation (Lower Cretaceous) vertebrate diversity



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

In the new March 2013 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology:

Matthew P. J. Oreska, Matthew T. Carrano & Katherine M. Dzikiewicz (2013)
Vertebrate paleontology of the Cloverly Formation (Lower Cretaceous),
I: faunal composition, biogeographic relationships, and sampling.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(2): 264-292
DOI:10.1080/02724634.2012.717567
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02724634.2012.717567


The vertebrate fauna of the Cloverly Formation has been studied for
more than 75 years, but remains poorly sampled and incompletely
understood. We undertook an extensive survey of the formation that
resulted in the discovery of several new, highly productive vertebrate
microfossil bonebeds (VMBs). Comprehensive sampling of these and other
sites has nearly doubled the known vertebrate diversity of the
Cloverly Formation. In addition to the comparatively well-known
dinosaurs, this augmented faunal list includes hybodontoid sharks,
numerous bony fishes, three lissamphibian lineages, lizards, multiple
crocodylians, and several new mammal occurrences. The known Cloverly
vertebrate fauna now more closely resembles those of other late Early
Cretaceous formations in North America, indicating broad similarities
across wide geographic areas at this time. In addition, this work
underscores the important role VMBs can play in areas previously
studied primarily through surface prospecting and quarrying,
especially for assessing paleoecology and species diversity.