Please join the Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning for a special presentation related to paleontology and dinosaurs.
A tyrannosaurid (cf. Teratophoneus surriei) bonebed in the late Campanian-aged Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, nicknamed the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry, provides the opportunity to investigate the relationship between different age groups of this apex predator. Taphonomic analysis of the site using sedimentology, fauna, and floral make-up, bone alternation, rare earth element geochemistry, and stable isotopic composition suggests a complex taphonomic history. This complex history started with the death of the tyrannosaurids, burial, and secondary transportation into a peri-fluvial, low-energy lacustrine setting. The similarity of REE analysis and the isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonate nodules and turtle-shell suggests the remains at the RUQ site were from the same ecospace and were fossilized in the same fossilization event. This, along with evidence from other sites, provide evidence that the tyrannosaur mass-burial site could be part of an emerging pattern throughout Laramidia reflecting innate tyrannosaurid behavior such as habitual gregariousness.
Dr. Celina Suarez is a native of San Antonio, Texas. She's an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas, USA. She received her BS in Geosciences from Trinity University in San Antonio, an MS in Geology from Temple University and a PhD in Geology in 2010 from the University of Kansas. She was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Boise State University. Suarez's research focuses on using trace element and stable isotope geochemistry of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and paleosols to understand fossil preservation, past greenhouse climates, and major climate shifts caused by C-cycle perturbations. Her research has taken her throughout the U.S., to China, South Africa and Lesotho.