A CENOMANIAN FAUNA
IN RUSSEL COUNTY, KANSAS, Gregory A. Liggett*, Sternberg Muesum
of Natural History, Fort Hays State Univ., Hays, KS 67601; S. Christopher
Bennett, Natural History Museum, Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-2454;
Kenshu Shimada, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Univ. of Illinois at
Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607; and James Huenergarde, 231 E 12, Hays,
In 1995 amateur fossil enthusiasts were hunting an outcrop
in Russell, County Kansas that is well known for producing fossil shark teeth.
They found an unusual bone and brought it to the attention of the Sternberg
Museum of Natural History. Field work by museum personnel turned up a pliosaur
paddle (Brachauchenius?) as well as a large number of shark and bony fish
teeth. Further processing of the sediment revealed the distal end of a right
femur from a large pterosaur, and two vertebrae referable to Coniasaurus cf.
The fossils were collected at the contact between the Graneros Shale and Greenhorn Limestone formations. Hatton (1975) considers the Graneros Shale and lower Greenhorn Limestone to be of Late Cenomanian age. Thus, the pterosaur specimen is the oldest yet found from Kansas, with all other known pterosaurs from Kansas coming from the Smoky Hill Chalk and the Pierre Formation (a downward extension of their range in Kansas of about 12 ma). The Coniasaurus specimen is significant because it is the first recognized representative of this group in Kansas. Previously within the United States, Coniasaurus was only recognized in the literature from the Eagle Ford Group (Late Cenomanian) of Texas, although several others are known but currently unpublished.