THE ELLISDALE SITE (LATE CRETACEOUS, CAMPANIAN) - IS THERE A RATIONALE FOR AN "ELLISDALEAN" LAND FAUNAL AGE?
In the early stages of the work at Ellisdale it was assumed that the terrestrial and freshwater faunas would be indistinguishable from Judithian (Middle to Late Campanian) vertebrate assemblages of the western interior (Cordillera), and at the family level this has proven to be true; but no species-level Ellisdale taxon has yet been identified that has comparable counterparts from chronoequivalent Campanian faunas of Cordillera. Isolated from the end of the Turonian onward by the advancement of the epeiric sea, the terrestrial taxa of eastern North America (Appalachia) probably underwent vicariant speciation in relative isolation, thus producing an unique assemblage quite different from the Cordilleran faunas with which they shared common ancestry. What the Ellisdale assemblage may possibly represent then, is a relict population of taxa descended from Albian/Cenomanian ancestors of either North American or Eurasian, or possibly even Gondwanan, origin.
It has been suggested that the Ellisdale fauna contains sufficient unique taxa to be considered a land faunal "age", serving as a biostratigraphic reference for the Late Cretaceous of Appalachia. Nevertheless, the definition and acceptance of an "Ellisdalean" land faunal age remains dependent upon the study and characterization of correlative local faunas from east of the epeiric seaway. Among the most promising of these faunas are the Bladen County Landfill Site (Black Creek Group) of North Carolina, the Eagle Point Site (Coachman Fm.) of South Carolina, and the Arlington Archosaur Site (Woodbine Fm.) of Texas.