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THE BELLY RIVER GROUP

1. The Foremost Formation

The vertebrate record of the Foremost Formation is best represented by vertebrate microfossil localities.  One locality at the base of the section is dominated by the remains of sharks (Beavan, 1995).

In the middle of the Foremost formation, vertebrate microfossil localities dominated by freshwater vertebrates, but containing occasional marine vertebrate remains, are present. In addition to the vertebrate microfossil localities, a few animals are known from isolated surface collected elements, two of which are particularly striking.  One is a turtle with a distinctive ornamentation consisting of tubercles is present.  The small pieces look like fish tooth plates.  This turtle, Naomichelys, is best known from much older localities, and is found both in North America and Europe at that time. The Foremost locality is the last know occurrence of this turtle in the interior of North America, although it does occur in later localities on the west coast, with one occurring on Vancouver Island and one on the Baja peninsula. Another unusual occurrence in these beds is the thick-skulled pachycephalosaur.  Skull caps of pachycephalosaurs are encountered in mudstones in the middle of the Foremost Formation.  This occurrence is anomalous because they are otherwise most common in the localities that are farthest from the coast.  The setting here suggests that they were on the mudflats bordering the coastal sea.  Study of pachycephalosaur material by Robert Sullivan (2000) suggests that the skull caps collected from this formation belong to a new genus although this has been universally accepted (Ryan and Evans, 2005). 

To the west, near Manyberries, and to the south in Montana, in beds of similar age, remains of a ceratopsian have been found.  This, together with material from Montana, is in press as a new genus Centrosaurinae. 

The uppermost horizon in the Foremost Formation is laterally continuous sandstone that contains abundant bone, especially at its base.  The only articulated hadrosaur from the Foremost Formation in the Manyberries area that we have found so far is located in this horizon.  It remains to be collected.  In laterally equivalent beds in Montana, skeletons of the hadrosaur Brachylophosaurus have been found. 

 © 2007 The Southern Alberta Dinosaur Research Group.