Abstract

The faunal assemblage from the early Maastrichtian portion of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation is described on the basis of four new vertebrate microfossil localities and remains from the Albertosaurus bonebed. All of the localities sampled were deposited during a cool, dry climate at a palaeolatitude of ∼58°N. Thus, these assemblages provide insight into a northern cool-climate assemblage in the early Maastrichtian of western North America. This fauna is characterized by the presence of taxa with more northern affinities, such as Holostean A, champsosaurs, Troodon, and toothed birds. Warm-climate taxa, such as crocodylians, large and diverse turtles, and albanerpetontids are notable in their absence. The Albertosaurus bonebed locality at the top of unit 4 of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation was deposited during the initial stages of a trend to a warmer and wetter climate that is represented in unit 5. The bonebed shares many taxa with the underlying vertebrate microfossil localities. However, a notable difference is the presence of Atrociraptor marshalli from the Albertosaurus bonebed but not the other localities in the upper Horseshoe Canyon Formation. The presence of Atrociraptor may be attributable to this change in climate rather than local ecological conditions. Also, the assemblages are different in the paucity of fish remains in the bonebed, and the relative rarity of shed hadrosaur teeth. The low abundance of aquatic taxa and rarity of shed teeth of hadrosaurs indicate that the locality is largely autochthonous, with little material being transported into the site.

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