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GEOREF RECORD

Application of forensic science techniques to trace fossils on dinosaur bones from a quarry in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, northeastern Wyoming

Kenneth S. Bader, Stephen T. Hasiotis and Larry D. Martin
Application of forensic science techniques to trace fossils on dinosaur bones from a quarry in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, northeastern Wyoming
Palaios (March 2009) 24 (3): 140-158

Abstract

Trace fossils on sauropod skeletons from a quarry in fluvial deposits of the Morrison Formation, Wyoming, are used to reconstruct the taphonomic history of the dinosaur bone accumulation. Shallow pits; rosettes; hemispherical pits; thin, curvilinear, branching grooves; and U- to V-shaped linear grooves make up trace fossils found on sauropod skeletons. The traces were interpreted by comparisons to traces on modern bone. Rosettes are circular rings of modified bone and are likely an early stage in the production of shallow pits. They are interpreted as pupation chambers constructed in dried flesh in contact with sauropod bone. Hemispherical pits are circular with a U-shaped cross section and interpreted as dermestid pupation chambers completed in sauropod bone. Thin, curvilinear, branching grooves are semicircular in cross section, form irregular dendritic or looping patterns, and are interpreted as root etchings. U- to V-shaped linear grooves are interpreted as theropod or crocodilian bite marks. Skeletal articulation and condition and distribution of bone modification traces suggest the skeletons accumulated at this site over no more than 3.5 years, with the bulk of the skeletons contributed during the dry season in the final 3-6 months. Carcasses went through all stages of decomposition--including the dry stage, represented by shallow pits, rosettes, and hemispherical pits. Vertebrate scavengers and necrophagous arthropods fed on the carcasses during all decomposition stages prior to burial of the assemblage.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 24
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Application of forensic science techniques to trace fossils on dinosaur bones from a quarry in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, northeastern Wyoming
Affiliation: University of Kansas, Department of Geology, Lawrence, KS, United States
Pages: 140-158
Published: 200903
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 88
Accession Number: 2009-032350
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. cols., 4 tables, sketch map
N43°30'00" - N44°10'00", W105°04'60" - W104°04'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 200918
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