Inferring Stratigraphic Position of Fossil Vertebrates from the Niobrara Chalk of Western Kansas

Authors

  • Christopher S. Bennett College of Chiropractic, University of Bridgeport

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17161/cres.v0i244.11778

Keywords:

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Abstract

The stratigraphy of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk of western Kansas is well understood as a result of the work of Hattin (1982) and Stewart (1988). Marker units identified by Hattin (1982) allow quick determination of the stratigraphic position of a specific outcrop. This study demonstrates that it is now possible to determine the stratigraphic positions of specimens from locality data, thus permitting one to infer stratigraphic position of specimens collected long ago. This technique is particularly useful in the upper half of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member, where biostratigraphy is not informative. The stratigraphic distribution of the type skulls of the pterosaur Pteranodon is examined as an example of the procedure, which in turn demonstrates that the procedure can have the power to reject hypotheses. Inferring stratigraphic positions of fossil vertebrates may be useful in further studies of the large collections of fossil vertebrates from the Smoky Hill Chalk Member. In addition, examination of the stratigraphic distribution of outcrops of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member in western Kansas suggests that most of the fossil vertebrates collected from the member came from a rather restricted stratigraphic interval between Marker Units 15 and 20.

References

Bardack, D., 1965, Localities of fossil vertebrates obtained from the Niobrara Formation (Cretaceous) of Kansas: University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History, v. 17, p. 1-14.

Bennett, S. C., 1990, Inferring stratigraphic position of fossil vertebrates from the Niobrara Chalk of western Kansas; in, Niobrara Chalk Excursion Guidebook, 1990 Annual Meeting, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, S. C. Bennett, ed.: Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 90-60, p. 43-72.

Bennett, S. C., 1991, Morphology of the Late Cretaceous pterosaur Pteranodon and systematics of the Pterosauria: Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. xvii + 680 p.

Bennett, S. C., 1992, Sexual dimorphism of Pteranodon and other pterosaurs, with comments on cranial crests: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 12, p. 422-434.

Elias, M. K., 1931, The geology of Wallace County, Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 18, 254 p. [available online]

Hattin, D. E., 1982, Stratigraphy and depositional environment of Smoky Hill Chalk Member, Niobrara Chalk (Upper Cretaceous) of the type area, western Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 225, 108 p. [available online]

Miller, H. W., 1968, Invertebrate fauna and environment of deposition of the Niobrara Formation (Cretaceous) of Kansas: Fort Hays Studies, New Series, Science Series No. 8, 90 p.

Russell, W. L., 1929, Stratigraphy and structure of the Smoky Hill Chalk in western Kansas: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin, v. 13, p. 595-604.

Stewart, J. D., 1988, The stratigraphic distribution of Late Cretaceous Protosphyraena in Kansas and Alabama; in, Geology, Paleontology, and Biostratigraphy of Western Kansas--Articles in Honor of Myrl V. Walker, M. E. Nelson, ed.: Fort Hays State University Studies, Third Series, No. 10, p. 80-94.

Williston, S. W., 1897, The Kansas Niobrara Cretaceous: The University Geological Survey of Kansas, v. 2, p. 237-246.

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Published

2000-09-28