PASKAPOO FORMATION

(Upper Paleocene)

 Loris S. Russell

(1904-1998)

 

 

 

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Hand and footprint impressions of a quadrupedal vertebrate on a natural cast block

From McCrea et al., (In press)

 

On a global scale the Paleocene appears to be largely lacking a vertebrate track record. Outside of western North America there are virtually no footprints known. Even in western North America few footprint localities have been found to date. The track record includes the traces of amphibians, birds, crocodylians, turtles and mammals.

The strata belonging to the Paskapoo Formation are known for Paleocene vertebrate remains, and are particularly well-known for  mammal fossils.  The Paskapoo Formation is not so well known for its footprints, though they are present.

    Ralph Rutherford and Loris Russell (1928) made a short mention of what they described as "mammal tracks" from a slab they found along the banks of the Red Deer River near the town of Red Deer, Alberta.  Loris Russell (see sidebar) described these prints more thoroughly, once more attributing them to mammals (Russell, 1930), though he did not name them or compare them to other fossil footprints.

The slab (UALVP 134) was recently re-examined and it was determined based upon the morphology of the tracks that they have closer affinities with a crocodylian trackmaker (McCrea, et al., in press) The tracks were named Albertasuchipes russellia (McCrea et al., in press) in honor of Loris Russell, who found the specimen and did the initial research and description of the tracks.

The locality where the tracks were found is thought to be mid-Tiffinian in age.

A brief field excursion  to the UALVP 134 track locality in the spring of 2002 by University of Alberta graduate students Rich McCrea and Stacey Gibb led to the discovery of a single, small reptilian track. Further prospecting trips to this area are being planned.

Trackway map for UALVP 134 showing placement of manus and pes impressions.

The dotted line indicates the midline of the trackway.

From McCrea et al., (In press)

 

 

Stereo photos of manus/pes set #2 of the UALVP trackway

From McCrea et al., (In press)