Saturday, March 19, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Boreonykus certekorum • A High-latitude Dromaeosaurid (Theropoda), from the upper Campanian Wapiti Formation, west-central Alberta

Boreonykus certekorum 
Bell & Currie, 2016DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2015.1034359  

Dromaeosaurids were rare components of most Late Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems and are poorly known from high palaeolatitudes. New dromaeosaurid material, including a frontal and associated postcranial elements, is described from a dense monodominant ceratopsid bonebed on Pipestone Creek, near the city of Grande Prairie (Unit 3, Wapiti Formation, upper Campanian), central-western Alberta, Canada. This stratigraphic interval is significant because it records a period of terrestrial deposition at a time when much of the western interior of Canada and the United States was inundated by the Bearpaw Sea. A phylogenetic analysis recovers Boreonykus certekorum, gen. et sp. nov., as a derived eudromaeosaur, possibly within Velociraptorinae. The identification of a new dromaeosaurid from the Wapiti Formation simultaneously helps fill an important gap in the record of late Campanian dromaeosaurids, bolsters support for a partly endemic fauna within the Wapiti Formation, and potentially adds to the North American record of a predominantly Asian Velociraptorinae.


SAURISCHIA Seeley, 1888 
THEROPODA Marsh, 1881
DROMAEOSAURIDAE Matthew and Brown, 1922


Etymology — Genus name references the modern day boreal forest where the type specimen was found and ‘onychos,’ meaning claw (Greek). Species name pays tribute to Certek Heating Solutions and the Barendregt family (Wembley, Alberta) for their continued support of paleontology in the Peace Region.

Horizon and Locality — The holotype and referred material come from the Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai bonebed at Pipestone Creek, 19 km southwest of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. A volcanic ash layer approximately 1 m above the bonebed host unit revealed an age of 73.27 § 0.25 million years (D. A. Eberth in Currie et al., 2008), placing it within uppermost part of Unit 3 of the Wapiti Formation (Fanti and Catuneanu, 2009, 2010).

Phil R. Bell and Philip J. Currie. 2016. A High-latitude Dromaeosaurid, Boreonykus certekorum, gen. et sp. nov. (Theropoda), from the upper Campanian Wapiti Formation, west-central Alberta. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.   36(1); DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2015.1034359