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[dinosaur] Small-bodied hadrosauromorphs from end-Cretaceous marine assemblage in New Jersey

Ben Creisler

A new paper:


Chase Doran Brownstein (2020)
Osteology and phylogeny of small-bodied hadrosauromorphs from an end-Cretaceous marine assemblage.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, zlaa085 (advance online publication)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa085

The timing of non-avian dinosaur decline is one of the most debated subjects in dinosaur palaeontology. Dinosaur faunas from the last few million years of the Mesozoic appear far less diverse than those from earlier in the Cretaceous, a trend that could suggest non-avian dinosaur extinction occurred gradually. However, the limited nature of the latest Cretaceous dinosaur record outside western North America has obscured patterns in dinosaur diversity just before the extinction. Here, I describe two associated skeletons and several isolated fossils recovered from the New Egypt Formation of New Jersey, a latest Maastrichtian unit that underlies the K-Pg boundary. The larger skeleton appears to be a small-bodied adult from a lineage outside Hadrosauridae, the dominant group of these animals during the Maastrichtian, that persisted along the eastern coast of North America. Smaller specimens are identifiable as juvenile hadrosauromorphs. These results substantiate an important assemblage of herbivorous dinosaurs from the poorly-known Cretaceous of eastern North America. The marine depositional setting for these skeletons demonstrates that proposed ecosystem preferences among hadrosauromorphs may be biased by post-mortem transportation, and the adult skeleton has implications for assessing the proposed relictual nature of Late Cretaceous eastern North American vertebrates.

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