Abstract

The Santonian Deadhorse Coulee Member of the Milk River Formation preserves the oldest dinosaur body fossils found in Alberta. However, vertebrate remains consist almost exclusively of isolated elements and microvertebrate assemblages. Here, 1572 relatively complete shed non-avian theropod teeth from 20 localities in the Deadhorse Coulee Member are measured and analyzed to assess species diversity. Teeth are referred to or similar to Tyrannosaurinae indet., cf. Richardoestesia gilmorei, cf. Richardoestesia isosceles, Dromaeosauridae indet., Dromaeosaurinae indet., Velociraptorinae indet., and cf. Paronychodon lacustris. For the taxa identified, the large sample size allows for the assessment of their range of variation and accurate identification, without the benefit of comparable material of this age. Multivariate statistics, including a principal component analysis and a canonical variate analysis, provide reasonable separation of all taxa, although better results are achieved by separate analyses based on qualitative observations of denticle shape. The best results of the canonical variate analysis identified 96.0% of specimens correctly. This corroborates the qualitative identification of specimens and illustrates a valid way of evaluating diversity in areas and formations from which no described jaw material is known.

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