While the terrestrial fossil record of the mid-Cretaceous interval (Aptian to Cenomanian) in North America has been poorly studied, the recent focus on fossil localities from the western United States has offered a more detailed picture of vertebrate diversity, ecosystem dynamics and faunal turnover that took place on the western landmass of Laramidia. This is in stark contrast to the terrestrial record from the eastern landmass of Appalachia, where vertebrate fossils are rare and consist mostly of isolated and fragmentary remains. However, a detailed understanding of these fossil communities during this interval is necessary for comparison of the faunal patterns that developed during the opening of the Western Interior Seaway (WIS). The Woodbine Group of Texas is a Cenomanian age (95–100 mya) deposit consisting of shallow marine, deltaic, and terrestrial communities, which were only recently separated from their western counterparts. These deposits have yielded a wealth of vertebrate remains, yet non-avian theropods are still largely unknown. Recently, multiple localities in the Lewisville Formation of the Woodbine Group have yielded new non-avian theropod material, including numerous isolated teeth and postcranial remains. While largely fragmentary, this material is sufficiently diagnostic to identify the following taxa: a large-bodied carcharodontosaur, a mid-sized tyrannosauroid, a large ornithomimosaur, a large dromaeosaurine, a small dromaeosaurid, a small troodontid, and a small coelurosaur. Some of these groups represent the first occurrence for Appalachia and provide a broader understanding of a newly expanded faunal diversity for the Eastern landmass. The Lewisville Formation theropod fauna is similar in taxonomic composition to contemporaneous deposits in Laramidia, confirming that these groups were widespread across the continent prior to extension of the WIS. The Lewisville Formation documents the transitional nature of Cenomanian coastal ecosystems in Texas while providing additional details on the evolution of Appalachian communities shortly after WIS extension.
Cenomanian, Theropoda, Appalachia, Transition, Mid-Cretaceous, Tyrannosauroidea, Ornithomimosauria, Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae, Carcharodontosauria
Noto, C. R., D’Amore, D. C., Drumheller, S. K., & Adams, T. L. 2022. A newly recognized theropod assemblage from the Lewisville Formation (Woodbine Group; Cenomanian) and its implications for understanding Late Cretaceous Appalachian terrestrial ecosystems. PeerJ, 10, Article e12782. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12782