Tuesday, 6 April 2021


Hiking the hills of Nevada looking for David Taylor's faunal succession based on ammonoids established for the Late Hettangian to Early Sinemurian interval in the Western Cordillera.

The land here is free of trees with low only low groupings of gnarly scrub to work through to get to the bedrock below. 

Our work here was in October, which is a time when Nevada is cool in the mornings and evenings, but still surprisingly hot during the day. It is also tarantula breeding season and my first glimpse of these spiders in volume at field sites. 

It was a tremendous experience to walk through time and compare the fossil assemblages here with our own in the Canadian Rockies. Here the faunal sequence consists of one zone and four informal biochronologic units or assemblages and was outlined by Taylor as follows: Paracaloceras morganense assemblage, Badouxia oregonensis assemblage, Canadensis Zone, Metophioceras trigonatum assemblage and Coroniceras involutum. They matched up to specimens we collected over three field seasons to similar faunal outcrops of Late Hettangian to Early Sinemurian of the Last Creek and Tyaughton area of the Canadian Rockies.

The succession also correlates with the interval delineated by the Northwest European Angulata Zone through the Lyra Subzone. Two new genera (Guexiceras and Tipperoceras) are described along with 23 new species. 

The phylogenetic relationships of the earliest Jurassic ammonite superfamilies indicate that it is useful to include under the Psiloceratida, the Psilocerataceae and their derivatives including the Lytocerataceae

The Arietitaceae were derived from Hettangian Lytocerataceans. There is still much work to be done to work out the finer points of comparison between British Columbia's Triassic fauna and those that lived and died in what is now Nevada, USA, but enjoyable work it it.