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[dinosaur] Paleontology of Bears Ears National Monument + Jurassic termite nests (free pdfs)

Ben Creisler

A new paper with free pdf:

Robert J. Gay, Adam K. Huttenlocker, Randall B. Irmis, M. Allison Stegner & Jessica Uglesich (2020)
Paleontology of Bears Ears National Monument (Utah, USA): History of exploration, study, and designation.
Geology of the Intermountain West 7: 205-241

Free pdf:

Bears Ears National Monument (BENM) is a new landscape-scale national monument in southeastern Utah, jointly administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service as part of the National Conservation Lands system. As initially designated in 2016, BENM encompassed 1.3 million acres of land with exceptionally fossiliferous rock units. Subsequently, in December 2017, presidential action reduced BENM to two smaller management units (Indian Creek and Shash JÃÃ). Although the paleontological resources of BENM are extensive and abundant, they have historically been under-studied. Herein we summarize prior paleontological work within the original BENM boundaries to provide a more comprehensive picture of the known paleontological resources, which are used to support paleontological resource protection. The fossil-bearing units in BENM comprise a nearly continuous depositional record from aproximately the Middle Pennsylvanian Period (about 310 Ma) through the middle of the Cretaceous Period (about 115 Ma). Pleistocene and Holocene deposits are known from unconsolidated fluvial terraces and cave deposits. The fossil record from BENM provides unique insights into several important paleontological intervals of time including the Carboniferous-Permian icehouse-greenhouse transition and evolution of fully terrestrial tetrapods, the rise of the dinosaurs following the end-Triassic mass extinction,and the response of ecosystems in dry climates to sudden temperature increases at the end of the last glacial maximum.


Also may be of interest (it's free!), since some small dinosaurs likely ate termites:

Elliott Armour Smith, Mark A. Loewen & James I. Kirkland (2020)
New social insect nests from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Utah.
Geology of the Intermountain West 7: 281-299

Free pdf:


This paper reports a new assemblage of social insect ichnofossils from the Brushy Basin Member of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation near Green River, Utah. At least seven distinct nests are visible in the locality horizon, identifiable at the outcrop scale by loci of anastomosing, and orthogonally connected horizontal burrows and vertical shafts. A boulder-sized block from the in situ horizon has eroded and rolled downhill, revealing the ventral aspect of the nest, showing a view of the overall nest architecture. Burrow and shaft clusters are organized into mega-galleries which have branching arms and ovate, bulbous chambers. The organization of distinct trace morphologies is consistent with ethological complexity of the social insects. A small sample was collected and analyzed by serial sectioning and petrographic thin sectioning to observe small-scale morphological features. Centimeter-scale analysis shows chamber, gallery, and burrow walls have complex topography. Pebble-sized, hollow, ellipsoid features are distributed throughout the up-permost facies of the nest and have undergone complete silicification of their outer surfaces. The ellipsoids share similarity with pellet structures made of mud or carton produced by modern termites. This trace fossil assemblage suggests it is possible that termites had acquired subterranean nesting behavior, and mud or carton utilization in nest construction in seasonally arid habitats by the Late Jurassic.

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