2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 109-13
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM

AMBER ASSOCIATED WITH LATE CRETACEOUS DINOSAUR BONEBEDS IN WESTERN CANADA


MCKELLAR, Ryan C.1, ENGEL, Michael S.2, TAPPERT, Ralf3, WOLFE, Alexander P.4, TAPPERT, Michelle C.4 and MUEHLENBACHS, Karlis4, (1)Palaeontology, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, 2340 Albert St, Regina, SK S4P 2V7, Canada, (2)Division of Entomology (Paleoentomology), Natural History Museum, and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, (3)Institute of Mineralogy & Petrography, Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, A-6020, Austria, (4)Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada, ryan.mckellar@gov.sk.ca

The first report of inclusion-bearing amber in direct association with a dinosaur bonebed was made in 2004. Subsequently, a range of fossil deposits within the Late Cretaceous strata of Alberta and Saskatchewan have been found to contain at least trace amounts of amber. Improvements in processing techniques have allowed us to examine many of these ambers for inclusions, in addition to conducting bulk chemical analyses (Fourier-transform Infrared spectroscopy) to establish source tree identity, and stable isotope analyses (of C and H) to investigate both ecological conditions and events within the paleo-forest. Here we will discuss preliminary findings from the Danek Bonebed near Edmonton, Alberta (Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Maastrichtian); Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta (Dinosaur Park Formation, Campanian); Pipestone Creek Pachyrhinosaurus Bonebed near Grande Prairie, Alberta (Wapiti Formation, Campanian); and the ‘Scotty’ Tyrannosaurus rex Bonebed near Eastend, Saskatchewan (Frenchman Formation, Maastrichtian). These case studies illustrate the range of paleoecological and taphonomic data that can be obtained from truly contemporaneous amber deposits and the potential for future research. In addition to aiding in correlation, many of the characteristics examined provide insights into specific events during the time of bonebed formation, such as infestations, and background conditions, such as surrounding water sources or paleotemperature. Amber may even provide a proxy for oxygen levels in the ancient atmosphere.