Title

Taphonomy of a Late Cretaceous mosasaur specimen from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi

Advisor

Clary, Renee M.

Committee Member

Owen Nagel, Athena

Committee Member

Funderburk, Brent

Committee Member

Harrell, T. Lynn

Committee Member

Phillips, George

Date of Degree

8-1-2020

Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years||8/15/2022

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Major

Geosciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Geosciences

Abstract

The taphonomy and paleoecology of a well-preserved mosasaur (DSM 10716) are reported from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. The mosasaur was recovered from the Prairie Bluff Chalk, the exact stratigraphic position and age confirmed using established foraminiferal zonation for the Late Cretaceous of the U. S. Gulf Coastal Plain. A species identification of Mosasaurus cf. hoffmanni Mantell is given using shape and structure of the quadrate and jugal, as well as tooth counts for the dentary, maxilla, and pterygoid. DSM 10716 exhibits well-preserved trace fossils including feeding traces and the remains of encrusting bivalves. The associated fossils are probed for similar phenomena to modern whale falls and other ancient carcass falls. Based on associated fossils present on DSM 10716, evidence for a mobile scavenger stage, a possible enrichment opportunist stage, and a reef stage is established. No chemosynthetic organisms were detected to suggest the existence of a sulfophilic stage.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/18436

Comments

Mosasaur||Carcass Fall||Cretaceous Marine Scavenging||Reef Stage||Mississippi Cretaceous Paleontology||Cretaceous Marine Taphonomy

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