Paleoecological implications of Alaskan terrestrial vertebrate fauna in latest Cretaceous time at high paleolatitudes
The latest Cretaceous cool temperate environment of the Alaskan North Slope included dinosaurs (some species represented by both juveniles and adults) and mammals, all probably endothermic, and freshwater fish among its terrestrial vertebrate fauna. No traces have been found of amphibians or nondinosaurian reptiles, ectothermic vertebrates that are abundantly represented in approximately contemporaneous faunas of North American middle paleolatitudes. A geologically brief period of intense cold and darkness has been hypothesized as the primary cause of terminal Cretaceous extinctions. However, the extinction of the lineages of Alaskan dinosaurs and mammals, in contrast to the survival of most lineages of amphibians and nondinosaurian reptiles into the Tertiary, contradicts this hypothesis.
- Pub Date:
- June 1993
- Earth Science