Abstract

During the course of excavating the Maastrichtian Danek Bonebed in the city of Edmonton, a range of well-preserved organic materials was recovered alongside vertebrate remains, including amber, coal, and unpermineralized plant fragments. Herein, we report carbon and hydrogen stable isotopic characterizations of these materials to provide ancillary insights into genesis of the fossil deposit. These analyses permit isotopic comparisons between the various organic fractions at the Danek locality, as well as with other Late Cretaceous localities in Alberta. The investigation of amber proves particularly informative, with carbon stable isotope ratios that are regionally consistent and furthermore conform to the larger, global-scale isotopic trend for this material, and hydrogen results that inform paleoclimatic conditions at the time of amber formation. When coupled with chemotaxonomic information from amber Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, the isotopic results indicate a consistent taxodioid forest composition and relatively stable environmental conditions across the three horizons that encapsulate the Danek bonebed.

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