Two New Dinosaur Bonebeds From the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wy: an Analysis of the Paleontology and Stratigraphy
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Vertebrate fossils have been discovered at several locations in the Bighorn Basin (Wyoming). The Virginia Museum of Natural History's (VMNH) digsite is located in the eastern part of the Bighorn Basin, in the Coyote Basin. Many scientists have worked within these basins trying to describe the stratigraphy. One question specifically asked is where the boundary between the Morrison Fm. (Jurassic) and the Cloverly Fm. (Cretaceous) lies. This new study attempted to show if the current method (Kvale, 1986) of determining the boundary is appropriate. The stratigraphy of the area was examined using Kvale, 1986, Ostrom, 1970, and Moberly, 1960's work in order to see which model was more robust. The fossils in the VMNH digsite were used to supplement the stratigraphic data in determining the age of specific beds.
All of Ostrom's units were identified throughout the study area. There is some doubt as to whether the units would be acceptable outside of the Coyote Basin because of laterally discontinuity. Nevertheless, his description of units is satisfactory for the study area, and is more appropriate than other methods. The geologic age of the dinosaurs uncovered in the VMNH quarry is in agreement with the age determined stratigraphically. The VMNH site is below Ostrom's Unit II, which would place it in the Late Jurassic. The determination of the Jurassic/Cretaceous stratigraphic boundary has not been resolved. However, since the Pryor Conglomerate member of the Cloverly Fm. can be identified throughout this area, it is proposed as the Morrison Fm./Cloverly Fm. boundary.
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