Lance Formation

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Lance Formation
Stratigraphic range: Maastrichtian, 69–66 Ma
Lance Fm.jpg
Badlands in the Lance Formation along Cow Creek near the type locality. Niobrara County, Wyoming
Type Sedimentary
Underlies Fort Union Formation
Overlies Meeteetse Formation
Thickness up to 600 metres (1,970 ft)
Lithology
Primary Sandstone, siltstone, shale
Location
Region  Wyoming
Country  United States
Type section
Named for Lance Creek, Wyoming

The Lance (Creek) Formation is a division of Late Cretaceous (dating to about 69 - 66 Ma) rocks in the western United States. Named after Lance Creek, Wyoming, the microvertebrate fossils and dinosaurs represent important components of the latest Mesozoic vertebrate faunas. The Lance Formation is Late Maastrichtian in age (Lancian land mammal age), and shares much fauna with the Hell Creek Formation of Montana and North Dakota, the Frenchman Formation of southwest Saskatchewan, and the lower part of the Scollard Formation of Alberta.

The Lance Formation occurs above the Baculites clinolobatus ammonite marine zone in Wyoming, the top of which has been dated to about 69 million years ago, and extends to the K-Pg boundary, 66 million years ago. However, the characteristic land vertebrate fauna of the Lancian age (which take its name from this formation) is only found in the upper strata of the Lance, roughly corresponding to the thinner equivalent formations such as the Hell Creek Formation, the base of which has been estimated at 66.8 million years old.[1]

Description[edit]

The formation is described by W.G. Pierce as thick-bedded, buff-colored sandstone, and drab to green shale. It is Upper Cretaceous in age.[2]

The formation varies in thickness from about 90m (300 feet) in North Dakota, to almost 600m (2,000 feet) in parts of Wyoming.

Depositional Environment[edit]

The Lance Formation was laid down by streams, on a coastal plain along the edge of the Western Interior Seaway. The climate was subtropical; there was no cold season and probably ample precipitation.

Paleontology[edit]

At least tens of thousands of Late Cretaceous vertebrate remains have been recovered from the Lance Formation. Fossils ranging from microscopic elements to extensive bonebeds, with nearly complete, sometimes articulated dinosaur skeletons, have been found.[3] Most other animals known from the formation are freshwater animals, and some are exclusively freshwater forms (for instance, frogs and salamanders). However, marine fossils are also found in the formation, suggesting that the sea was nearby. The bird fauna is mainly composed of orders still existing today.

Coelurosaurs[edit]

UCMP 143274 (Caenagnathidae?)[4][5]

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.

Birds[edit]

Birds reported from the Lance Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images

Apatornis

A. retusus

Reclassified as Palintropus retusus

Ceramornis

C. major

A possible charadriiform bird

Cimolopteryx

C. petra

Reclassified as Lamarqueavis minima[7]

C. rara

  • YPM 1805 (holotype), a partial coracoid[6]

A charadriiform

C. retusa

Reclassified as Palintropus retusus

C. minima

Reclassified as Lamarqueavis minima[7]

"Cimolopteryx"

"C." maxima

  • UCMP 53973 (holotype), a partial coracoid[6]

A charadriiform bird, not necessarily closely related to Cimolopteryx.[6]

Graculavus

G. augustus

  • AMNH 25223, a partial humerus[8]

A possible charadriiform[8]

Lamarqueavis

L. minima

  • UCMP 53976 (holotype), a partial coracoid[7]

A charadriiform.[7]

L. petra

  • AMNH 21911 (holotype), a partial coracoid[7]

A charadriiform.[7]

Lonchodytes

L. estesi

  • UCMP 53954 (holotype), a partial tarsometatarsus[8]

A possible procellariiform[8]

"Lonchodytes"

"L." pterygius

  • UCMP 53961 (holotype), a partial carpometacarpus[8]

A possible charadriiform.[8]

"Palaeotringa"

"P." vetus

  • ANSP 13361 (holotype), a partial tibiotarsus[8]
  • AMNH 25221, a partial tibiotarsus[8]

A bird similar to gruids, idiornithids and presbyornithids.[8]

Palintropus

P. retusus

  • YPM 513 (holotype), a partial coracoid[9]

A basal ornithuromorph belonging to Ambiortiformes.[9]

Potamornis

P. skutchi

  • UCMP 73103 (holotype), a quadrate[10]
  • tarsometatarsus?[10][11]

A hesperornithiform possibly also present in the Hell Creek Formation.[10]

Torotix

T. clemensi

  • UCMP 53958, a partial humerus[12]

A possible presbyornithid.[12]

Unnamed presbyornithid

Indeterminate

  • AMNH 21929, a partial scapula[8]
  • AMNH 22603, a partial scapula[8]
  • YPM 868, a partial scapula[8]
  • AMNH 22602, a partial sternum[8]

A presbyornithid[8]

Unnamed enantiornithean

Unnamed

  • USNM 2909, a partial metatarsal and pedal phalanges[13]

An enantiornithean, previously referred to "Ornithomimus" minutus[13]

Unnamed avian

Indeterminate

  • UCMP 53960, two partial neck vertebrae[8]

An indeterminate avian[8]

Unnamed phalacrocoracid

Indeterminate

  • AMNH 25272, a femur[8]

A possible phalacrocoracid.[8]

"Unnamed ornithurine A"[6]

Indeterminate

  • UCMP 53962, a partial coracoid[6]
  • UCMP 53963, a partial coracoid[6]
  • AMNH uncatalogued, a partial coracoid[6]

Originally thought to belong to Cimolopteryx rara, but probably a new species. Also present in the Frenchman Formation.[6]

"Unnamed ornithurine C"[6]

Indeterminate

  • YPM PU 17020, a partial coracoid[6]

Also present in the Hell Creek Formation.[6]

"Unnamed ornithurine E"[6]

Indeterminate

  • USNM 181923, a partial coracoid[6]
  • USNM 13011, a partial coracoid[6]

Also present in the Hell Creek Formation.[6]

"Unnamed ornithurine F"[6]

Indeterminate

  • UCMP 53957, a partial coracoid[6]
  • ACM 12359, a partial coracoid[6]

Originally thought to belong to "Cimolopteryx" maxima, but probably a new species.[6]

Other Coelurosaurs[edit]

Misc Coelurosaurs of the Lance Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images

Aublysodon

A. amplus

Teeth, type specimen

Dubious tyrannosaurids probably synonymous with Tyrannosaurus rex

Pectinodon bakkeri tooth
Tyrannosaurus

A. cristatus

Teeth, type specimen

"Ornithomimus"

"O." sedens

"Sacrum and fragmentary illium"[14] type specimen

An ornithomimid.

Paronychodon

P. caperatus

Teeth, type specimen

A troodontid

Pectinodon

P. bakkeri

Teeth, type specimen

A troodontid

Tyrannosaurus

T. rex

Several partial specimens and teeth

A tyrannosaurid originally identified from the Hell Creek Formation. Also found in the Denver, Ferris, Frenchman, Javelina, Livingston, McRae, North Horn, Scollard, and Willow Creek Formations. Synonyms with type specimens from this formation include Dynamosaurus imperiosus and Manospondylus gigas.

Ornithischia[edit]

Ankylosaurs[edit]

Ankylosaurs of the Lance Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Abundance Notes Images

Ankylosaurus

A. magniventris

An ankylosaurid, originally identified from the Hell Creek Formation.

Denversaurus

D. schlessmani[15]

Skull (the type specimen)

A nodosaurid

Marginocephalians[edit]

Marginocephalians reported from the Lance Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images

Agathaumas

A. sylvestris

"Partial sacrum and pelvis,"[16] type specimen.

A dubious ceratopsid probably synonymous with Triceratops horridus

Leptoceratops

L. gracilis

A ceratopsian

Nedoceratops

N. hatcheri

"[One] skull,"[16] type specimen.

A ceratopsid possibly synonymous with Triceratops horridus.[17] Synonyms include Diceratops hatcheri and Diceratus hatcheri.

Pachycephalosaurus

P. wyomingensis

Fragmentary specimens including the type specimen.

A pachycephalosaur. Synonyms with type specimens from this formation include Troodon wyomingensis.

"Palaeoscincus"

"P." latus

"Tooth."[18]

A dubious pachycephalosaur, previously classified as the ankylosaur Palaeoscincus

Stygimoloch

S. spinifer

A pachycephalosaur possibly synonymous with Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis[19]

Torosaurus

T. latus

Several specimens including the type specimen.

A ceratopsid possibly synonymous with Triceratops horridus.[17] Torosaurus gladius, with type specimen from this formation, is a synonym. Also present in the Frenchman and Hell Creek Formations.

Triceratops

T. horridus

"Partial skull and skeleton,"[16] type specimen

A ceratopsid, also found in the Evanston, Frenchman, Hell Creek, Laramie, and Scollard Formations. Synonyms with type specimens from this formation include T. ingens and T. sulcatus.[16]

Ornithopods[edit]

Ornithopods of the Lance Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Abundance Notes Images

Edmontosaurus

E. annectens

Skull, skeletons, including the type specimen and "mummy".

A hadrosaurid. Synonyms from this formation include Anatosaurus annectens and Claosaurus annectens. Also found in the Frenchman, Hell Creek, Laramie and Scollard Formations.

Thescelosaurus

T. neglectus

Well-preserved skeleton, type specimen

A thescelosaurid.[20] Also found in the Frenchman, Hell Creek, Laramie and Scollard Formations.

Thespesius

T. occidentalis

Teeth, vertebrae, toe bone (including type specimen)

A dubious hadrosaurid possibly synonymous with E. annectens

"Trachodon"

"T." longiceps

One partial jaw (YPM 616), type specimen

A dubious hadrosaurid possibly synonymous with E. annectens

Other vertebrates[edit]

Other land vertebrates include pterosaurs (e.g. cf. Azhdarcho), crocodiles, champsosaurs, lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders.

Remains of fishes and mammals have also been found in the Lance Formation.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Lehman, T. M., Mcdowell, F. W., & Connelly, J. N. (2006). First isotopic (U-Pb) age for the Late Cretaceous Alamosaurus vertebrate fauna of West Texas, and its significance as a link between two faunal provinces. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 26(4), 922-928.
  2. ^ Pierce, W.G., 1997, Geologic map of the Cody 1 degree x 2 degrees quadrangle, northwestern Wyoming: U.S. Geological Survey, Miscellaneous Geologic Investigations Map I-2500, scale 1:250000.
  3. ^ Silver, Mark (August 2, 2014) "The Dinosaur Surveyors" The American Surveyor Frederick Maryland
  4. ^ Stidham, 1998
  5. ^ Dyke, GJ; Mayr, G. (1999). "Did parrots exist in the Cretaceous period?". Nature 399 (6734): 317–318. doi:10.1038/20583.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Nicholas R. Longrich (2011). "Titanoceratops ouranous, a giant horned dinosaur from the Late Campanian of New Mexico". Cretaceous Research. 32. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2010.12.007. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Federico L. Agnolin (2010). "An avian coracoid from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina". Stvdia Geologica Salmanticensia. 46 (2): 99–119. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Hope, 2002
  9. ^ a b Longrich, N. 2009. An ornithurine-dominated avifauna from the Belly River Group (Campanian, Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta, Canada. Cretaceous Research, 30(1): 161-177.
  10. ^ a b c Elzanowski, Paul and Stidham, 2001. An avian quadrate from the Late Cretaceous Lance Formation of Wyoming. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 20(4): 712-719.
  11. ^ "Table 11.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 215.
  12. ^ a b Olson, S.L. and Feduccia, A. 1980. Presbyornis and the origin of the Anseriformes (Aves: Charadriomorphae). Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology no. 323.
  13. ^ a b Chiappe, L. M., and Walker, C. A. (2002) Skeletal morphology and systematics of the Cretaceous Euenantiornithes (Ornithothoraces: Enantiornithes): In: Mesozoic Birds, above the heads of Dinosaurs, University of California Press, 240-267.
  14. ^ "Table 6.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 139.
  15. ^ Bakker, R.T. (1988). Review of the Late Cretaceous nodosauroid Dinosauria: Denversaurus schlessmani, a new armor-plated dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of South Dakota, the last survivor of the nodosaurians, with comments on Stegosaur-Nodosaur relationships. Hunteria 1(3):1-23.(1988).
  16. ^ a b c d "Table 23.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 496.
  17. ^ a b Scannella, J. and Horner, J.R. (2010). "Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh, 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): synonymy through ontogeny." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 30(4): 1157 - 1168. doi:10.1080/02724634.2010.483632
  18. ^ "Table 17.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 368.
  19. ^ Horner J.R. and Goodwin, M.B. (2009). "Extreme cranial ontogeny in the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Pachycephalosaurus." PLoS ONE, 4(10): e7626. Online full text
  20. ^ Boyd, Clint A.; Brown, Caleb M.; Scheetz, Rodney D.; Clarke, Julia A. (2009). "Taxonomic revision of the basal neornithischian taxa Thescelosaurus and Bugenasaura". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (3): 758–770. doi:10.1671/039.029.0328. 

External links[edit]