Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Boreonykus certekorum: a new High-latitude Dromaeosaurid Theropod From Upper Campanian Cretaceous Alberta

A high-latitude dromaeosaurid, Boreonykus certekorum, gen. et sp. nov. (Theropoda), from the upper Campanian Wapiti Formation, west-central Alberta


Bell et al


Dromaeosaurids were rare components of most Late Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems and are poorly known from high palaeolatitudes. New dromaeosaurid material, including a frontal and associated postcranial elements, is described from a dense monodominant ceratopsid bonebed on Pipestone Creek, near the city of Grande Prairie (Unit 3, Wapiti Formation, upper Campanian), central-western Alberta, Canada. This stratigraphic interval is significant because it records a period of terrestrial deposition at a time when much of the western interior of Canada and the United States was inundated by the Bearpaw Sea. A phylogenetic analysis recovers Boreonykus certekorum, gen. et sp. nov., as a derived eudromaeosaur, possibly within Velociraptorinae. The identification of a new dromaeosaurid from the Wapiti Formation simultaneously helps fill an important gap in the record of late Campanian dromaeosaurids, bolsters support for a partly endemic fauna within the Wapiti Formation, and potentially adds to the North American record of a predominantly Asian Velociraptorinae.

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