Cretaceous floras of western Canada

Fossil dicot leaf collected from Campanian sediments in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. RTMP collection. Image source: HeRMIS online database.

Western Canada has a superb fossil record of both Cretaceous dinosaurs and Cretaceous plant life.

The Greenwood lab has 2 main areas of focus, that overlap with other research areas:







  1. diet of the Albian armoured dinosaur Borealopelta markmitchelli (Ornithischia: Nodosauridae)
    • this project is in collaboration with Drs Caleb Brown and Don Henderson at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, and Dr. Jim Basinger at the University of Saskatchewan, and is the thesis project of Greenwood lab Masters student, Jessica Kalyniuk.
    • prior work by Greenwood lab-members Cathy Greenwood and Jessica Kalyniuk has characterized the plant taxa present in the preserved stomach contents (a cololite) of this nodosaur (Brown et al. 2020, Royal Society Open Science) based on microscopic analysis of thin-section slides made through the cololite.
    • Jessica’s ongoing research will compare and contrast the cololite sample meso- and microfloras with the contemporaneous Gates Formation macroflora (working with J. Basinger) and associated microflora (palynology in partnership with Dr. Jen Galloway, GSC Calgary).
  2. Late Cretaceous floras of Alberta and British Columbia.
    • Campanian to Maastrichtian macrofloras from Alberta are well represented in the collections of the Tyrrell Museum and other regional museums, and remain collectable in current dinosaur dig areas such as Dinosaur Provincial Park.
    • proposed new analyses will seek to characterize the paleoclimates and paleoecology of these Late Cretaceous floras, as hitherto research has focused on taxonomic analyses, with much of the work on leaf fossils completed in the 1950s.
    • current work is focused on Santonian to Maastrichtian palm fossils from Alberta and BC (see palm project).