Mecaster batnensis (Coquand, 1862), a late Cenomanian echinoid from New Mexico, with a compilation of Late Cretaceous echinoid records in the Western Interior of the United States and Canada

Stephen C. Hook, William A. Cobban


Echinoids are rare in the Upper Cretaceous of the Western Interior, where fewer than 60 unique occurrences are known to date, most of these represented by only a few tests or isolated spines. A notable exception is the Carthage coal field (Socorro County, New Mexico), where more than 200 specimens of Mecaster batnensis, previously referred to as Hemiaster jacksoni Maury, 1925, have been collected from the basal Bridge Creek Limestone Beds of the Tokay Tongue of the Mancos Shale. Prolific occurrences from the same beds are known from elsewhere in west-central and southwest New Mexico. Recorded originally from the Upper Cretaceous of Algeria, M. batnensis is a small- to medium-sized, irregular echinoid that is confined to the upper Cenomanian Euomphaloceras septemseriatum Zone in New Mexico. Measurements on 169 well-preserved specimens from two localities in New Mexico document a species that is, on average, 21.0 mm long, 19.8 mm wide, and 15.1 mm tall, yielding a width/length ratio of 0.94 and a height/length ratio of 0.72. Graphs plotting width against length and height against length are strongly linear.

The Western Interior echinoid record spans the entire Late Cretaceous, although there are no records from rocks of Santonian age. Localities are spread from New Mexico on the south to Alberta on the north. Preservation ranges from coarse internal molds in high-energy sandstones to original tests in low-energy limestones.


Cretaceous; Hemiasteridae; North America; Biostratigraphy; Bridge Creek Limestone Beds; Tokay Tongue; Rio Salado Tongue; Mancos Shale; Carthage Coal Field.

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