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[dinosaur] Iguanodontid footprint from Early Cretaceous of Alberta




Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new paper:


Donald M. Henderson (2017) 
The first evidence of iguanodontids (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) in Alberta, Canada – A fossil footprint from the Early Cretaceous.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2017.04.015
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667117300952


Highlights

First evidence of iguanodontids from Canadian province of Alberta.
Fills a gap in the palaeogeographic distribution of iguanodontian dinosaurs.
Very poor Early Cretaceous dinosaur record for the province is in stark contrast to its famous Late Cretaceous record.

Abstract

Basal iguanodontians (“iguanodontids”) were a successful group of ornithopod dinosaurs that attained a near global distribution by the late Early Cretaceous. Despite their body fossils being known in abundance from the uppermost Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous of the western United States, their remains have never been found in western Canada. With its extensive, terrestrial sedimentary record for the whole of the Early Cretaceous, the expectation is that these dinosaurs would have been present in western Canada. This paper reports the finding of a fossil footprint from the Gladstone Formation in southwestern Alberta that is interpreted to have been made by an iguanodontid. This identification is based on the late Barremian age of the hosting rock, gross footprint details that match the skeletal foot structure of Iguanodon bernissartensis, and similarities to Early Cretaceous dinosaur footprints found elsewhere in the world that are attributed to iguanodontids. This finding fills a noticeable gap in the iguanodontian fossil record, and is consistent with the clade's attainment of global distribution during the Early Cretaceous.