Kaiparowits Formation

The Kaiparowits Formation is a sedimentary rock formation found in the Kaiparowits Plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in the southern part of Utah in the western United States. It is over 2800 feet (850 m) thick, and is Campanian in age. This Upper Cretaceous formation was formed from alluvial floodplains of large rivers in coastal southern Laramidia; sandstone beds are the deposit of rivers, and mudstone beds represent floodplain deposits. It is fossiliferous, with most specimens from the lower half of the formation, but exploration is only comparatively recent, with most work being done since 1982. It has been estimated that less than 10% of the Kaiparowits formation has been explored for fossils. Most fieldwork has been conducted by The Natural History Museum of Utah.

Kaiparowits Formation
Stratigraphic range: Campanian 76.6–74.3 Ma
TypeGeological formation
Thickness790 m (2,600 ft)
Lithology
PrimaryMudstone, sandstone
Location
Coordinates37°24′0″N 111°41′0″W / 37.40000°N 111.68333°W / 37.40000; -111.68333 (Kaiparowits Formation)Coordinates: 37°24′0″N 111°41′0″W / 37.40000°N 111.68333°W / 37.40000; -111.68333 (Kaiparowits Formation)
Region Utah
Country USA
Fluvial deposits of the Kaiparowits Formation at "The Blues".

AgeEdit

Traditionally, the Kaiparowits Formation has been considered to be roughly equivalent in age to the northern Dinosaur Park Formation. This, combined with the differences in fauna between the two formations, has led some scientists, most notably Scott Sampson, to conclude that there was some kind of barrier separating northern and southern Laramidia at this time. However, preliminary re-calibration of late Cretaceous formation correlations suggests that the upper part of the Kaiparowits, where many of the unique species are found, is actually younger than the Dinosaur Park, and that some Kaiparowits species may in fact simply be descendants of Dinosaur Park species.[1]

According to this re-calibrated stratigraphic data, the Kaiparowits dates from about 76.6 to 74.3 million years ago.[1]

BiostratigraphyEdit

The timeline below follows the re-calibrated timeline of Fowler (2017),[1] showing species from the Kaiparowits Formation in green, and related species from Alberta in blue.

Lambeosaurus magnicristatusLambeosaurus lambeiCorythosaurus casuariusParasaurolophus cyrtocristatusParasaurolophusParasaurolophus walkeriGryposaurus monumentensisGryposaurusGryposaurusProsaurolophus maximusGryposaurus notabilisNasutoceratops titusiPachyrhinosaurinaeStyracosaurus albertensisCentrosaurus apertusUtahceratops gettyiKosmoceratops richardsoniVagaceratops irvinensisChasmosaurus russelliChasmosaurus belliChasmosaurus priscusMercuriceratops gemini

HabitatEdit

The Kaiparowits Formation is a muddy bed that was deposited between about 76.6 to 74.3 million years ago,[2] in the area where the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument of Utah is today. It is extremely fossil rich, with thousands of plants and animal fossils being preserved in amongst its sandstone and mudstone deposits. Based on plants remains including multiple vines, leaves, and branches, It was assumed by paleontologists Scott Sampson and his colleagues that Utah in the Campanian was a dense jungle bordering the Western Interior Seaway. The jungle theory would also support why almost all the animals in the Kaiparowits Formation were new species, and why the deposits were so plentiful. Without the need for herbivores to migrate to find food, and theropods to migrate after herbivores, a whole ecosystem could evolve secluded from interbreeding. The theory also supported why the dinosaurs adorned such features like the 15 horns of Kosmoceratops, they were for sexual selection.[3]

PaleofaunaEdit

 
A Kosmoceratops disturbed from its rest by a wandering Talos in Laramidia

Animals present include chondrichthyans (sharks and rays), gars, bowfin, sturgeons, frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, crocodilians (including Deinosuchus),[4][5] coelurosaurian theropods such as dromaeosaurids, troodontids, and Ornithomimus velox, armored dinosaurs, the duckbill Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus, and a variety of early mammals including multituberculates, marsupials, and insectivorans.[6] Recent finds include large specimens of the duckbill Gryposaurus,[7] including the species G. monumentensis,[7] and the first described remains of the oviraptorosaurian Hagryphus giganteus.[8]

Trace fossils are also known from the Kaiparowits, including an excellently preserved hadrosaur skin impression known from a recent analysis by Herrero and Farke.[9]

TurtlesEdit

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Turtles reported from the Kaiparowits Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Boremys[10]

B. grandis[10]

A baenid

Arvinachelys[11]

A. goldeni

A baenid, notable for its atypical nasal structure.

Denazinemys[11]

D. nodosoa

middle unit of the upper Kaiparowits Formation

A baenid

Neurankylus[11]

Two species[11]

A baenid

Thescelus[11]

int.[11]

A baenid

Compsemys[12]

C. victa [12]

A paracryptodiran

Adocus[10]

indet., possibly several species[10]

An adocid

Basilemys[12]

B. nobilis[12]

A possible member of Nanhsiungchelyidae. By far the largest native turtle at about 78 centimeters in length.

Helopanoplia[10]

indt.[10]

A softshell turtle

NeosuchiansEdit

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Crocodilians reported from the Kaiparowits Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Bernissartia[13]

May not be Bernissartia proper, but a close cousin. It would extend the family's time range to the Campanian.

Alligatoroid [14]

Is similar in form to Allognathosuchus.

Brachychampsa[14]

A new species yet to be described. Reached around 2 meters in length and is known from skull bones and a partial juvenile skeleton.

Caimanine[14]

Known from a lower jaw fragment. Is the oldest known true caiman found.

Deinosuchus

A very large alligatoroid, almost 10 meters in length.

  • D. riograndensis[16]

A very large alligatoroid, similar in size to D. hatcheri.

Goniopholid[14]

A new genus that exceeded 3 meters in length. Has a thin snout suited for piscivory.

Leidyosuchus[17]

A new species known from a partial skeleton

OrnithischiansEdit

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Ornithischians reported from the Kaiparowits Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Akainacephalus[18]

A. johnsoni

Horse Mountain Gryposaur Quarry

Lower middle unit

Complete skull and tail club, several vertebrae, osteoderms, synsacrum, hind- and forelimb elements.

A species of ankylosaurine related to Nodocephalosaurus

 
Parasaurolophus sp. nov. being attacked by Teratophoneus
 
("Skaladromeus")
Anodontosaurus[19][20] sp. nov. UMNH VP locality 1506 Lower middle unit partial skull Described in a thesis, different from the other two Anodontosaurus species.
Brachylophosaurini[21] Indeterminate Lower unit jugal The youngest example of brachylophosaurin material from Laramidia.
Centrosaurinae[22] Indeterminate Middle unit partial skull Also known as "Kaiparowits Centrosaurine B." Different from Nasutoceratops.
Chasmosaurinae[22] Indeterminate Dog Flat Lower unit partial skull May be a separate taxon based on its episquamosal and squamosal morphology.

Gryposaurus[23]

G. monumentensis[23]

Middle unit three skulls and an associated postcranial skeleton

A kritosaurin saurolophine hadrosaur. Gryposaurus is the most common hadrosaur found in this formation.[24]

G. sp.[21] Lower unit two skulls May be referable to G. notabilis as the only difference is size and stratigraphy, the Kaiparowits specimens being much larger and more recent.
Lambeosaurinae[25] Indeterminate two partial skeletons Similar to Hypacrosaurus altispinus; different from Parasaurolophus

Kosmoceratops[26]

K. richardsoni

Lower middle unit two skulls

A chasmosaurine ceratopsid

Nasutoceratops[27]

N. titusi

UMNH VP Locality 940

Lower middle unit

skull, a forelimb, and some postcranial elements

A centrosaurine ceratopsid

Nodosauridae Indeterminate Middle unit a spine and some associated specimens
Parasaurolophus[28]

P. cyrtocristatus[29][30]

Lower to middle unit over a dozen skulls

Originally identified as P. cyrtocristatus, then believed to be a new species, then tentatively referred back to P. cyrtocristatus.

"Skaladromeus"[31] "S. goldenii" Lower to middle unit An orodromine ornithopod described in a thesis.

Utahceratops[26]

U. gettyi

Lower to middle unit several articulated and disarticulated specimens

A chasmosaurine ceratopsid

TheropodsEdit

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Theropods reported from the Kaiparowits Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images
Dromaeosaurus[32] Indeterminate Teeth A dromaeosaurine dromaeosaurid.

Hagryphus[23]

H. giganteus[23]

"The Blues" Middle middle unit forelimb and other elements

A caenagnathine caenagnathid

Mirarce[33]

M. eatoni

UCMP locality V93097

An avisaurid enantiornithine

Ornithomimidae[28][34]

Indeterminate[28][34]

Middle unit partial skeleton and other elements

Probably not referable to Ornithomimus.[34] Closely related to "Ornithomimus" sedens and Rativates.[35]

Saurornitholestes[32] Indeterminate Teeth A saurornitholestine or velociraptorine dromaeosaurid.

Talos[23]

T. sampsoni[23]

"The Blues Middle middle unit

A troodont

Teratophoneus[36][37]

T. curriei

"The Blues"; UMNH VP Locality 597 Middle unit

A tyrannosaurine tyrannosaurid

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Fowler, Denver Warwick (2017-11-22). "Revised geochronology, correlation, and dinosaur stratigraphic ranges of the Santonian-Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) formations of the Western Interior of North America". PLOS ONE. 12 (11): e0188426. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188426. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5699823. PMID 29166406.
  2. ^ Roberts, EM; Deino, AL; Chan, MA (2005). "40Ar/39Ar age of the Kaiparowits Formation, southern Utah, and correlation of contemporaneous Campanian strata and vertebrate faunas along the margin of the Western Interior Basin". Cretaceous Research. 26 (2): 307–318. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2005.01.002.
  3. ^ Miller, P. (May 2014). "Digging Utah's Dinosaurs". National Geographic. 225 (5): 60–79.
  4. ^ "FIRST REPORT OF THE HYPER-GIANT CRETACEOUS CROCODYLIAN DEINOSUCHUS FROM UTAH". gsa.confex.com. Archived from the original on 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  5. ^ Titus AL, Knoll K, Sertich JJ, Yamamura D, Suarez CA, Glasspool IJ, et al. (2021). "Geology and taphonomy of a unique tyrannosaurid bonebed from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah: implications for tyrannosaurid gregariousness". PeerJ. 9: e11013. doi:10.7717/peerj.11013. PMID 33976955.
  6. ^ Eaton, Jeffrey G.; Cifelli, Richard L.; Hutchinson, J. Howard; Kirkland, James I.; Parrish, J. Michael (1999). "Cretaceous vertebrate faunas from the Kaiparowits Plateau, south-central Utah". In Gillete, David D. (ed.). Vertebrate Paleontology in Utah. Miscellaneous Publication 99-1. Salt Lake City: Utah Geological Survey. pp. 345–353. ISBN 978-1-55791-634-1.
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BibliographyEdit