PORCUPINE HILLS FORMATION

(Upper Paleocene)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TMP 90.131.01 slab

From McCrea, et al., (in press)

 

Composite drawing of S. whitea manus (grey) and pes (white) prints.

From McCrea, et al., (In press)

 

The Porcupine Hills Formation has a very good skeletal fossil record, with many good fossils sites within the city limits of Calgary, Alberta. Until recently, no vertebrate tracks had been reported from this formation. However, during the construction of a new community in Calgary, that of Signature Park, near Signal Hill in, several natural cast tracks in a trackway were noticed on a block in a rubble pile.  The rubble pile had been produced as a result of the excavation of basements for the new houses. Mr. Gordon White, a stone mason and landscaper who was involved in the construction activity, noticed the prints and reported them to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. Mr. Darren Tanke, a technician for the museum, confirmed that the tracks were genuine and the large slab was removed to the Royal Tyrrell Museum where it is now in display in the Tertiary gallery.

The mammal tracks on the TMP90.131.01 trackslab were named Sarjeantipes whitea (McCrea et al., in press) in memory of Dr. William (Bill) A.S. Sarjeant, a respected vertebrate (particularly mammal) track expert from the University of Saskatchewan and Mr. Gordon White who played an important role in the trackslabs discovery and recovery. The Sarjeantipes whitea tracks are those of a predatory mammal (see below), possibly a hyaenodontid creodont (McCrea et al., in press). The tracks themselves are those of a quadrupedal animal with a narrow trackway and manual prints consistently overprinted by the pes prints (see map below). The trackway does record a 20 degree turn to the left (looks like a right because the trackway is preserved as a natural cast).

Based on the mammal remains in the vicinity of the track find near Signal Hill,  the tracks are likely to be late Torrejonian to early Tiffinian in age. Given the nature of the locality where the find was made (an established community) it is unlikely that any new prints or trackways will be found in this area.

 

Map of TMP 90.131.01 (Sarjeantipes whitea) trackway showing overprinting of the manus prints (grey) by the pes prints (black).

From McCrea et al., (in press)

   

Creodont skeletal image.

Modified from Gebo and Rose (1993)