Palynostratigraphy of dinosaur bone-bearing deposits from the Upper Cretaceous of Western Bulgaria

Polina Pavlishina, Docho Dochev, Vladimir Nikolov, Marlena Yaneva, Ralitsa Konyovska

Abstract


Palynological investigation of the Vrabchov dol locality (Western Bulgaria) which recently yielded fragmentary dinosaur bones attributed to the clade Titanosauria, reveals well-preserved sporomorph assemblages dominated by angiosperm pollen from the Normapolles group, spores and rare gymnosperms. The age assessment of the studied sequence is based on the diagnostic Normapolles species, such as Oculopollis orbicularis Góczán, 1964, Oculopollis zaklinskaiae Góczán, 1964, Krutzschipollis spatiosus Góczán in Góczán et al., 1967 and Krutzschipollis crassus (Góczán, 1964) Góczán in Góczán et al., 1967. The concurrent presence of these pollen species suggests a late Santonian–early Campanian age for the succession. The sporomorph association is encountered in a palynofacies dominated by continental elements, including translucent phytoclasts (tissues, wood remains and plant cuticles). The sedimentary succession shows no evidence of marine elements and a very low proportion of AOM that attests to deposition within a lagoonal to foreshore marine environment, with high continental input and short transportation. The vegetation in the studied area was primarily composed of a range of Normapolles-producing angiosperms and secondarily of pteridophyte spore-producing plants. Gymnosperms were rare. Such a vegetation pattern reflects a warm, seasonally dry climate during the late Santonian–earliest Campanian in the studied area. The dinosaurs inhabited a wet lowland area, probably rich in herbaceous plants.

Keywords


Palynology; Normapolles; Titanosauria; Santonian; Campanian; Palaeoecology

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