Dinosaurs on the North Slope, Alaska: High Latitude, Latest Cretaceous Environments

Science  25 Sep 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4822, pp. 1608-1610
DOI: 10.1126/science.237.4822.1608


Abundant skeletal remains demonstrate that lambeosaurine hadrosaurid, tyrannosaurid, and troodontid dinosaurs lived on the Alaskan North Slope during late Campanian—early Maestrichtian time (about 66 to 76 million years ago) in a deltaic environment dominated by herbaceous vegetation. The high ground terrestrial plant community was a mild- to cold-temperate forest composed of coniferous and broad leaf trees. The high paleolatitude (about 70° to 85° North) implies extreme seasonal variation in solar insolation, temperature, and herbivore food supply. Great distances of migration to contemporaneous evergreen floras and the presence of both juvenile and adult hadrosaurs suggest that they remained at high latitudes year-round. This challenges the hypothesis that short-term periods of darkness and temperature decrease resulting from a bolide impact caused dinosaurian extinction.

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