At the Top of the Grand Staircase

At the Top of the Grand Staircase

The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah
Edited by Alan L. Titus and Mark A. Loewen
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/09/2013
Format: Hardback 338 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00883-1
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The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah is the location of one of the best-known terrestrial records for the late Cretaceous. A major effort in the new century has documented over 2,000 new vertebrate fossil sites, provided new radiometric dates, and identified five new genera of ceratopsids, two new species of hadrosaur, a probable new genus of hypsilophodontid, new pachycephalosaurs and ankylosaurs, several kinds of theropods (including a new genus of oviraptor and a new tyrannosaur), plus the most complete specimen of a Late Cretaceous therizinosaur ever collected from North America, and much more. At the Top of the Grand Staircase: The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah documents this major stepping stone toward a synthesis of the ecology and evolution of the Late Cretaceous ecosystems of western North America.

Author Bio

Alan L. Titus is Monument Paleontologist at Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument in Utah and Adjunct Curator, Natural History Museum of Utah.

Mark A. Loewen is Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah and Research Associate, Natural History Museum of Utah.


“An all-inclusive synopsis of one of the best-known terrestrial records for the late Cretaceous.”

“The work on the Cretaceous of southern Utah in the past decade or so has been extraordinary. What was once a terra incognito has now become one of the most exciting areas for paleontological research in the world. . . . The scope of this volume is very systematic, starting with sedimentation and tectonics, proceeding with plants and invertebrates, and culminating with analysis of fossil vertebrates. This volume will be very welcome indeed.”
 — Peter Dodson, University of Pennsylvania

“...Rather than marking an end point, the volume is a foundational manuscript for ongoing research that will be indispensable to anyone researching the monument’s prehistoric life. At the Top of the Grand Staircase is an essential volume for explorers who are continuing to search through what’s left of Cretaceous Utah.”
 — National Geographic Phenomena

“[T]his work will be an important resource for library collections. It will be valuable to paleontologists and geologists who are working throughout the US and the world, not just this specific region. . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

“This volume . . . provides a comprehensive foundation for future research ventures on Campanian-age strata worldwide. Editors Alan Titus and Mark Loewen have completed the excellent service of compiling a suite of various research topics—ranging from stratigraphic reviews and correlations to taphonomic studies—on this key scientific region. ”
 — Priscum

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jeffrey G. Eaton
1. One Hundred Thirty Years of Cretaceous Research in Southern Utah
2. Geologic Overview
3. Accumulation of Organic Carbon–Rich Strata along the Western Margin and in the Center of the North American Western Interior Seaway during the Cenomanian–Turonian Transgression
4. Tectonic and Sedimentary Controls, Age, and Correlation of the Upper Cretaceous Wahweap Formation, Southern Utah
5. Implications of the Internal Plumbing of a Late Cretaceous Sand Volcano: Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Utah
6. The Kaiparowits Formation: A Remarkable Record of Late Cretaceous Terrestrial Environments, Ecosystems, and Evolution in Western North America
7. A Late Campanian Flora from the Kaiparowits Formation, Southern Utah, and a Brief Overview of the Widely Sampled but Little-Known Campanian Vegetation of the Western Interior of North America
8. Continental Invertebrates and Trace Fossils from the Campanian Kaiparowits Formation, Utah
9. Elasmobranchs from Upper Cretaceous Freshwater Facies in Southern Utah
10. Freshwater Osteichthyes from the Cenomanian to Late Campanian of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Utah
11. Preliminary Report on Salamanders (Lissamphibia; Caudata) from the Late Cretaceous (Late Cenomanian–Late Campanian) of Southern Utah, U.S.A.
12. Anuran Ilia from the Upper Cretaceous of Utah—Diversity and Stratigraphic Patterns
13. Turtles from the Kaiparowits Formation, Utah
14. Review of Late Cretaceous Mammalian Faunas of the Kaiparowits and Paunsaugunt Plateaus, Southwestern Utah
15. Late Cretaceous Mammals from Bryce Canyon National Park and Vicinity, Paunsaugunt Plateau, Southwestern Utah
16. Lizards and Snakes from the Cenomanian through Campanian of Southern Utah: Filling the Gap in the Fossil Record of Squamata from the Late Cretaceous of the Western Interior of North America
17. Crocodyliforms from the Late Cretaceous of Grand Sta

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