Recently episode #45 of the acclaimed Tetrapod Zoology Podcast was released, and, as usual, I found time to listen to it while illustrating for the Appalachia book. One point made by Darren Naish, however, caught my ear. While illustrating a point on the decline of the decadently frilled ceratopsians and crested lambeosaurines, he suggested that none of them persisted to the Late Maastrichtian. That might be true for the former of the two dinosaur groups, but the latter still hung to life in the-you-know-what continent. That’s right, Maastrichtian lambeosaurine bones have been found in deposits from Appalachia. Let me elaborate…
While in the west crestless forms like Edmontosaurus were almost the only surviving genera of the hadrosaurid lineage, the eastern shores of the newly-formed North American continent seem to still have supported the crested magnificence of the lambeosaurine hadrosaurs.
Indeterminate remains of a lambeosaurine have been reported from the Navesink Formation of New Jersey not only from one, but two localities. The Navesink Formation itself is a Maastrichtian deposit dating from around 70-66 million years ago. Gallagher (1993) reported indeterminate lambeosaurine remains from the West Jersey Marl Company’s Pit, Barnsboro, New Jersey, and Gallagher (2002) reported of indeterminate lambeosaurine remains from the Inversand Company marl pit locality in Gloucester County, New Jersey. It certainly seems a lambeosaurine was present in the Navesink ecosystem.
Lambeosaurine remains have also been reported from elsewhere on Appalachia. Rich et. al. (1997) reported Lambeosaurine remains from the Maastrichtian of the Kanguk Formation. The occurrence of lambeosaurine remains in the Kanguk Formation not only has implications for the survival of lambeosaurines into the Maastrichtian, but also for the presence of possible “polar dinosaurs” in eastern North America.
It seems as though as they declined in the west, lambeosaurines still thrived in the east up until the very end of the Mesozoic.
Although I am being nitpicky with this short write-up, my goal is to emphasize the importance of research before stating scientific claims. I don’t mean to offend either Darren or John, but I wanted to catch this little sliver of misinformation.
1. Gallagher, W. B. 1993. “The Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinction event in the North Atlantic coastal plain.” The Mosasaur 5:75-154.
2. Gallagher, W. B. 2002. “Faunal changes across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary in the Atlantic coastal plain of New Jersey: restructuring the marine community after the K-T mass-extinction event.” Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and beyond. GSA Special Paper 356:291-301.
3. Rich, T. H.; Gangloff, R. A.: Hammer. W. R. 1997. “Polar dinosaurs.” In P. J. Currie & K. Padian (eds.) Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 562-573.