A Hadrosaurid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) Kanguk Formation of Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada, and Its Ecological and Geographical Implications
Keywords:Appalachia, Arctic, Campanian, dinosaur, Laramidia, palaeobiogeography
A hadrosaurid vertebra was recovered during a palynological survey of the Upper Cretaceous Kanguk Formation in the eastern Canadian Arctic. This vertebra represents the farthest north record of any non-avian dinosaur to date. Although highly abraded, the fossil nonetheless represents an interesting biogeographic data point. During the Campanian, when this vertebra was deposited, the eastern Canadian Arctic was likely isolated both from western North America by the Western Interior Seaway and from more southern regions of eastern North America by the Hudson Seaway. This fossil suggests that large-bodied hadrosaurid dinosaurs may have inhabited a large polar insular landmass during the Late Cretaceous, where they would have lived year-round, unable to migrate to more southern regions during winters. It is possible that the resident herbivorous dinosaurs could have fed on non-deciduous conifers, as well as other woody twigs and stems, during the long, dark winter months when most deciduous plant species had lost their leaves.