Abstract

Dinosaurs and other terrestrial vertebrates are poorly documented in the Mesozoic of the Canadian polar region. Here, we provide a complete review of the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) vertebrate fauna of the Bonnet Plume Formation in the northeastern Yukon Territory, Canada, which includes the description of the first newly collected dinosaur bones from this unit in almost half a century. Previously reported fragmentary dinosaur remains collected in the early 1960’s pertain to an indeterminate hadrosaurid. New material includes a poorly preserved forelimb bone and a pedal phalanx. These new remains pertain to at least one species of non-hadrosaurid ornithischian dinosaur, and the humerus is tentatively referred to a small-bodied basal ornithopod. The new vertebrate fossils from the Bonnet Plume Formation provide further evidence of vertebrates from this unit. However, directed field surveys in 2008 and 2009 suggest that vertebrate fossils are not abundant. A review of the known localities of terrestrial Mesozoic vertebrates from the Canadian Arctic indicate that it had a relatively diverse community of terrestrial vertebrates, including dinosaurs, during the Late Cretaceous, but emphasizes our limited knowledge of the Mesozoic Arctic and considerable potential for future exploration and discovery.

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