Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 317–326

Did fire play a role in formation of dinosaur-rich deposits? An example from the Late Cretaceous of Canada


    • Department of Earth SciencesRoyal Holloway University of London
  • Margaret E. Collinson
    • Department of Earth SciencesRoyal Holloway University of London
  • Andrew C. Scott
    • Department of Earth SciencesRoyal Holloway University of London
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12549-013-0123-y

Cite this article as:
Brown, S.A.E., Collinson, M.E. & Scott, A.C. Palaeobio Palaeoenv (2013) 93: 317. doi:10.1007/s12549-013-0123-y


The mid-late Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation outcropping within Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada, contains multiple dinosaur deposits occurring as bone beds, articulated skeletons, isolated bones and microvertebrate deposits. Due to the abundance of dinosaur deposits, the exposure of Cretaceous sediments, and the presence of charcoal, this locality acts as a good test site for investigating the implications of fire-impacted landscapes for the formation of vertebrate deposits. Despite prior palaeontological and geological research being carried out into this Formation, the presence of charcoal in vertebrate deposits has never previously been recorded. This study compares charcoal content in vertebrate deposits (two bone beds, two beds with articulated skeletons), 6 sediment samples with isolated bones and 23 sediments with no bone. Charcoal is more abundant in the vertebrate deposits than in sediments containing isolated bones or no bones, including those in identical lithofacies. This evidence suggests that flooding events following wildfires are likely to have played a role in the formation of some vertebrate deposits.


Bone bedVertebrate depositCharcoalFloodingWildfireCeratopsian

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013