Mountain Building Triggered Late Cretaceous North American Megaherbivore Dinosaur Radiation

Terry A. Gates*, Albert Prieto-Marquez, Lindsay E. Zanno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prior studies of Mesozoic biodiversity document a diversity peak for dinosaur species in the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, yet have failed to provide explicit causal mechanisms. We provide evidence that a marked increase in North American dinosaur biodiversity can be attributed to dynamic orogenic episodes within the Western Interior Basin (WIB). Detailed fossil occurrences document an association between the shift from Sevier-style, latitudinally arrayed basins to smaller Laramide-style, longitudinally arrayed basins and a well substantiated decreased geographic range/increased taxonomic diversity of megaherbivorous dinosaur species. Dispersal-vicariance analysis demonstrates that the nearly identical biogeographic histories of the megaherbivorous dinosaur clades Ceratopsidae and Hadrosauridae are attributable to rapid diversification events within restricted basins and that isolation events are contemporaneous with known tectonic activity in the region. SYMMETREE analysis indicates that megaherbivorous dinosaur clades exhibited significant variation in diversification rates throughout the Late Cretaceous. Phylogenetic divergence estimates of fossil clades offer a new lower boundary on Laramide surficial deformation that precedes estimates based on sedimentological data alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42135
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • RAPID CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • KAIPAROWITS FORMATION
  • SOUTHERN UTAH
  • HISTORICAL BIOGEOGRAPHY
  • HADROSAURIAN DINOSAUR
  • LARAMIDE EXHUMATION
  • PARK FORMATION
  • NEW-MEXICO
  • DIVERSITY
  • DYNAMICS

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