Abstract

The Late Cretaceous of Alberta preserves one of the most complete records of fossil turtles within a single geographic area in North America. The Cenomanian Dunvegan Formation contains the earliest record of the family Trionychidae in North America. The Santonian Milk River Formation contains a minimum of ten taxa with Adocus, a small trionychid, and a member of the Solemydidae being the most abundant. Diversity remains high in the mid-Campanian Judith River Group. The solemyidid last occurs in the basal beds of the Judith River Group. A member of the Macrobaenidae first occurs in the Dinosaur Park Formation, the uppermost formation in the Judith River Group. Turtles diversity is low in the late Campanian lower Horseshoe Canyon Formation, and they are absent in the early Maastrichtian upper Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Diversity increases in the late Maastrichtian Scollard Formation, although it is much less than in the contemporaneous Hell Creek Formation of Montana. Two of the taxa present in the Scollard Formation, Compsemys and Plastomenus, occur in late Campanian or early Maastrichtian formations in more southerly areas of North America. The changes in turtle diversity through the Campanian and Maastrichtian are interpreted as a result of shifts in a latitudinal turtle diversity gradient resulting from changes in climate. Based on this interpretation a decrease in temperature from the mid-Campanian to early Maastrichtian, followed by a rapid increase at the beginning of the late Maastrichtian is supported.

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