The change in depositional environments observed in the Cretaceous (Upper Campanian) strata in the region of Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, from the proximal coastal plain deposits of the Oldman Formation to the lowland coastal plain deposits of the Dinosaur Park Formation, reveals an associated change in faunal composition. An assemblage collected from a microvertebrate site in the paralic deposits of the Lethbridge Coal Zone (uppermost Dinosaur Park Formation) reflects an increasing marine influence. Elasmobranch (sharks and rays) remains are the most abundant, both in terms of number of overall taxa and number of elements, and they are the best-preserved specimens. However, several brackish-water-tolerant osteichthyan taxa, and four reptile taxa (two marine and two terrestrial), were also recovered, although they exhibited evidence of extensive taphonomic reworking.
The elasmobranch fauna collected from the Dinosaur Park locality is uncommon for vertebrate microfossil assemblages in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta and in equivalent beds in Montana. Seven of the 10 taxa collected from this site [Cretorectolobus olsoni Case, 1978; Eucrossorhinus microcuspidatus Case, 1978; Odontaspis aculeatus (Cappetta and Case, 1975); Archaeolamna kopingensis judithensis Siverson, 1992; Protoplatyrhina renae Case, 1978; Ischyrhiza mira Leidy, 1856; and Ptychotrygon blainensis Case, 1978] are recorded for the first time from the uppermost section of the Judith River Group in Alberta; Carcharias steineri (Case, 1987), represents the first occurrence within the upper Judith River Group from either Alberta or Montana.