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Article: Late Ordovician vertebrates from the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, USA

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 48
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2005
Page(s): 31 48
Author(s): Ivan J. Sansom and M. Paul Smith
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How to Cite

SANSOM, I. J., SMITH, M. 2005. Late Ordovician vertebrates from the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, USA. Palaeontology48, 1, 31–48.

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Late Ordovician vertebrate faunas occur in clastic sedimentary units along the length of the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to Montana, and across the border into Canada. Most research has, however, been conducted on localities in the southern part of the outcrop belt, particularly the Harding Sandstone Formation of Colorado. Micropalaeontological sampling of the coeval South Piney Member (Winnipeg Formation) in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming has revealed an abundant vertebrate fauna. The vertebrate assemblage includes a low-abundance fauna of 13 conodont taxa that together indicate an undatus Chronozone age (mid-Mohawkian; mid-Caradoc; Late Ordovician). The pteraspidomorphs Astraspis desiderata Walcott and Eriptychius americanus Walcott are also present together with one new taxon, Eleochera glossa gen. et sp. nov., which is interpreted as a derived stem-gnathostome on the basis of its scale histology and morphology. The fauna bears a strong similarity to that of the Harding Sandstone but is of lower diversity. In particular, it lacks the fine-grained, deeper water component of the Harding Sandstone that contains, inter alia, thelodonts and stem-chondrichthyans.
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