During the late Jurassic Period (160-145 million years ago) central Wyoming was covered in an ocean called the Sundance Sea. Large marine vertebrates lived in this shallow ocean and when they died, their bodies sank to the sea floor. The researcher will report on an ichthyosaur specimen found in the Sundance Formation. This ichthyosaur perished for reasons unknown and with its death sustained a small ecosystem. Preserved amongst the bones are Serpulid worm tubes and also a series of sand-filled burrows. The worms and at least one organism lived off of the carcass of the large marine reptile as it decayed. Because of the slow sedimentation rate, carcasses were not buried quickly and provided a habitat for other organisms.
|Presenter:||Christopher Rauber (Undergraduate Student)|
|Time:||2:30 pm Session IV|