Southeastern Section - 60th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2011)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:25 AM


CRANE, Cynthia Danielle, CULVER, Stephen J. and RIGSBY, Catherine A., Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858,

A significant fossil site containing late Cretaceous (Campanian) vertebrate fossils has been discovered near Elizabethtown, Bladen County, North Carolina. This locality, known as the Bladen County Landfill Annex, has produced a wealth of fossil material allowing for paleoecologic, biogeographic and chronostratigraphic interpretations of the Campanian strata of North Carolina. It also has permitted taphonomic interpretations of the vertebrate elements.

During Campanian time, a fluvially-dominated estuarine system preserved vertebrate elements from a multitude of organisms in a ca. 10 cm thick bonebed at the top of the Bladen Formation of the Black Creek Group. A stratigraphically correlative bonebed has been documented at Phoebus Landing, also in Bladen County, but has not been systematically analyzed for its paleoecologic significance. The bonebed, overlain by Cenozoic terrace deposits, is exposed at the new site, a landfill approximately 6 km from Phoebus Landing. This site yields a greater abundance and diversity of vertebrate material than Phoebus Landing, thus permitting a more detailed understanding of the paleoecology.

Bulk samples of the bonebed yielded a diverse assemblage of fresh water, brackish water, and terrestrial organisms. The fossil elements from this site exhibit little or no abrasion, implying a short transport duration and distance from the source area. Fossils belong to the Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes, Reptilia, Mammalia and Amphibia. This fauna allows for regional correlation with Campanian age faunas from the Marshalltown Formation (Ellisdale Site) of New Jersey and the Blufftown Formation of Georgia. Of particular note, the Bladen County Landfill Annex faunal assemblage exhibits affinities with Campanian age microvertebrate fossil localities in the western United States including the Aguja Formation of Texas, the Mesaverde Formation of Wyoming, the Judith River Formation of Montana, and the Oldman Formation of Alberta.