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[dinosaur] Cretaceous dinosaurs of Appalachia, biogeography and ecology (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Chase D. Brownstein (2018)Â
The biogeography and ecology of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaurs of Appalachia.Â
Palaeontologia Electronica 21.1.5A 1-56.
doi: https://doi.org/10.26879/801

The Cenomanian to Maastrichtian of the Late Cretaceous saw the flooding of the interior of North America by the Western Interior Seaway, which created the eastern landmass of Appalachia and the western landmass of Laramidia. Though Appalachian dinosaur faunas are poorly known, they are nevertheless important for understanding Cretaceous dinosaur paleobiogeography and ecology. In order to better track the vicariance of eastern and western North American dinosaur faunas over the duration of the Cretaceous, the former were compared with the latter from the Aptian to Maastrichtian Stages of the Late Cretaceous using several similarity indices. The data gathered from biogeographic similarity indices suggest that an almost completely homogenous North American dinosaur fauna found in the Early Cretaceous experienced significant vicariance, splitting into a Laramidian fauna differentiated by the presence of ceratopsids, pachycephalosaurids, saurolophids, lambeosaurines, ankylosaurids, therizinosaurids, and troodontids and an Appalachian fauna characterized by the lack of the aforementioned groups and the presence of non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroids, massive hadrosauroids, basal hadrosaurids, leptoceratopsians, "intermediate"-grade tyrannosauroids, and nodosaurids between the Cenomanian and Campanian, with these two faunas later experiencing limited dispersal after the disappearance of the Western Interior Seaway from the American Interior during the Maastrichtian. Dinosaur provincialism and ecology on Appalachia are also investigated and discussed. Though the fossil record of dinosaurs for parts of the Cretaceous is poor throughout North America and in the eastern portion of the continent especially, the analyses herein nevertheless allow for a greater glimpse at dinosaur biogeography and ecology in Appalachia and in North America generally during the time.

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