Although we've talked in passing about extinct marine reptiles in the past, it has never been in detail, which is why I decided that this week we would talk a bit about the sea creatures often found in Alberta. In order to talk about the marine reptile fossils found in Alberta, I think it's important to explain some of geological history of the region.
In the mid to Late Cretaceous, a large water body called the Western Interior Seaway ran through North America, connecting the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. This large seaway lasted for about 100 million years, and caused nearly the entire province of Alberta to be underwater. This large seaway allowed for many large and small marine animals to invade, including sharks, fish, and of course, large marine reptiles.
|Image of modern North America in the mid-Late Cretaceous, covered in seaways|
|Artists impression of Albertonectes by Smokeybjb|
|Trinacromerum by Nobu Tamura|
|Artists impression of Prognathodon|
1. Kubo, T., et al. 2012. Albertonectes vanderveldei, a new elasmosaur (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Alberta. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 557-572.
2. Konishi, T., et al. 2011. New exceptional specimens of Prognathodon overtoni (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Upper Campanian of Alberta, Canada, and the systematics and ecology of the genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31: 1026-1046.