Recent studies of early Paleocene stratigraphic sections across the U.S. Western Interior are refining our understanding of the biotic recovery in the aftermath of the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction event. Herein we present magnetostratigraphic data from an approximately 600-m-thick section of strata of the Ferris Formation in the Hanna Basin, south-central Wyoming, that spans the K–Pg boundary and includes in conformable superposition the three subdivisions of the earliest Paleocene Puercan North American Land Mammal Age: interval zones Pu1, Pu2, and Pu3. Prior studies on early Paleocene stratigraphic sections in Montana to the north of Hanna Basin and in Colorado and New Mexico to the south have been only marginally successful in defining the temporal boundaries of these divisions. This earlier work typically restricted Pu1 entirely within reversed magnetochron C29r, Pu2 entirely within normal magnetochron C29n, and at least the early part of Pu3 in C29n, as well. Results of the present study confirm what has been only tentatively suggested previously: that interval zone Pu2 begins in the youngest part of C29r, with later Pu2 fauna extending into C29n. Although Pu3 is known to begin in C29n, its younger limit remains unknown in our Hanna Basin section, because the top of the local Puercan is well above the stratigraphic level of our sampling for this project. We estimate a date for the Pu1–Pu2 boundary in the Hanna Basin section of approximately 65.82 Ma—nearly 70 k.y. earlier than prior estimates. This boundary marks the transition from the Pu1 survival fauna to later phases of the mammalian recovery characterized by a significant increase in diversity, appearance of considerably larger-bodied mammals, and greater dental and dietary specializations.

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