Mooreville Chalk

The Mooreville Chalk is a geological formation in North America, within the U.S. states of Alabama and Mississippi, which were part of the subcontinent of Appalachia. The strata date back to the early Santonian to the early Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous.[1] The chalk was formed by pelagic sediments deposited along the eastern edge of the Mississippi embayment. It is a unit of the Selma Group and consists of the upper Arcola Limestone Member and an unnamed lower member.[2] Dinosaur, mosasaur, and primitive bird remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the Mooreville Chalk Formation.[1][2][3]

Mooreville Chalk
Stratigraphic range: Upper Cretaceous
TypeGeological formation
Unit ofSelma Group
Sub-unitsArcola Limestone Member
UnderliesDemopolis Chalk Formation
OverliesEutaw Formation
RegionAlabama, Mississippi
CountryUnited States


Cartilaginous fish

Cretoxyrhina mantelli 21DB
Cretoxyrhina mantelli
Squalicorax sp.

Bony fish

Enchodus petrosus
Enchodus petrosus
Saurodon BW
Saurodon leanus
Xiphactinus audax



Indeterminate hadrosaurid, nodosaurid, dinosaur egg, and ornithomimmosaur fossils are known from Mooreville Chalk outcrops in Alabama.[1]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Eotrachodon NT small
Ichthyornis BW
Ichthyornis dispar


Clidastes proph1DB
Clidastes prophyton
Eonatator BW
Eonatator sternbergii
Globidens alabamaensis
Platecarpus tympaniticus
Platecarpus tympaniticus
Tylosaurus proriger12DB
Tylosaurus proriger


Trinacromerum BW
Trinacromerum sp.


Pteranodon hharder
Pteranodon sp.


Protostega gigas
Protostega gigas

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Weishampel, David B; et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution (Late Cretaceous, North America)." In: Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 574-588. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Chiappe, Luis; Lamb, James P.; Ericson, PER G. P. (2002). "New enantiornithine bird from the marine Upper Cretaceous of Alabama". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 22 (1): 170–174. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2002)022[0170:NEBFTM]2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Kiernan, Caitlin R. (2002). "Stratigraphic distribution and habitat segregation of mosasaurs in the Upper Cretaceous of western and central Alabama, with an historical review of Alabama mosasaur discoveries". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 22 (1): 91–103. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2002)022[0091:SDAHSO]2.0.CO;2.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Applegate, Shelton P.; Dale E. Russell (1970). The Vertebrate Fauna of the Selma Formation of Alabama. Part VII. Part VIII. The Mosasaurs The Fishes. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History. pp. 387–430. OCLC 50419737.
  5. ^ Albert Prieto-Márquez, Gregory M. Erickson & Jun A. Ebersole, 2016, "A primitive hadrosaurid from southeastern North America and the origin and early evolution of ‘duck-billed’ dinosaurs", Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology DOI:10.1080/02724634.2015.1054495
  6. ^ "Table 11.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 213.
  7. ^ Bardet N, Suberbiola P, Iarochene M, Bouyahyaoui F, Bouya B, Amaghzaz M (2002). "A new species of Halisaurus from the Late Cretaceous phosphates of Morocco, and the phylogenetical relationships of the Halisaurinae (Squamata: Mosasauridae)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 143 (3): 447–472. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2005.00152.x. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  8. ^
Albula (fish)

Albula is a genus of fish belonging to the bonefish family Albulidae.


Bananogmius is an extinct genus of ray-finned fish that lived in what is today Kansas during the Late Cretaceous. It lived in the Western Interior Seaway, which split North America in two during the Late Cretaceous.


Corsochelys is an extinct genus of sea turtle that lived in the Late Cretaceous (Campanian). Zangerl (1960) named the type species (and currently only species; C. haliniches), based upon remains found in Alabama within the Mooreville Chalk Formation (the lower part of the Selma Group).


Cretolamna is a genus of extinct mackerel shark that belonged to the family Otodontidae.

These sharks lived from the Aptian of the Cretaceous period to the Ypresian stage of the early Eocene epoch (115 to 48 million years ago). It is considered by many to be the ancestor of many of the famous shark genera, such as the mako, great white, Carcharocles angustidens, and Carcharocles megalodon sharks.


Ctenochelys is an extinct genus of marine turtle (Cryptodira, Cheloniidae), which existed during the Cretaceous period, and lived in the shallow waters of the Western Interior Seaway. Its fossils have been found in the Ripley Formation and Mooreville Chalk of central Alabama, United States. It was first named by C.H. Sternberg in 1904, and contains two species, C. stenoporus and C. acris.


Edaphodon was a prehistoric chimaeriform fish genus belonging to the family Callorhinchidae (sometimes assigned to Edaphodontidae). So, Edaphodon was a type of rabbitfish, a cartilaginous fish related to sharks and rays. Edaphodon has under 15 known species, all of which are extinct. This genus appeared in Aptian age (end of lower Cretaceous) and vanished in Pliocene. It was most prominent during the Late Cretaceous. All Edaphodon species were situated in the Northern Hemisphere, apart from E. kawai, which was recently discovered in the Chatham Islands near New Zealand. This shows the range of Edaphodon reached further than was previously thought.


Eotrachodon orientalis is a species of hadrosaurid that was described in 2016. The holotype was found in the Mooreville Chalk Formation (Upper Santonian) in Alabama in 2007 and includes a well-preserved skull and partial skeleton, making it a rare find among dinosaurs of Appalachia. Another primitive hadrosaur, Lophorhothon, is also known from the same formation, although Eotrachodon lived a few million years prior. A phylogenetic study has found Eotrachodon to be the sister taxon to the hadrosaurid subfamilies Lambeosaurinae and Saurolophinae. This, along with the other Appalachian hadrosaur Hadrosaurus and possibly Lophorhothon, Claosaurus and both species of Hypsibema, suggests that Appalachia was the ancestral area of Hadrosauridae.


Halimornis was an enantiornithine bird. It lived during the Late Cretaceous about 80 mya and is known from fossils found in the Mooreville Chalk Formation in Greene County, Alabama. It is known from a single fossil individual, including preserved vertebrae, leg bones and part of the humerus (upper arm bone).

At the time, the area where the Mooreville Chalk was deposited was situated on the southern coast of the Western Interior Seaway, and may have been the site of a large delta where several major rivers flowed into the shallow sea. The fossil bird was found at a location that would have been about 50 km off shore, indicating that it was an ocean-going species. The name Halimornis means "bird of the sea". It would have lived alongside the more advanced seabird Ichthyornis dispar. It is one of the only known enantiornithine birds to have lived in a marine environment, along with the Australian Nanantius eos and "Ichthyornis" minusculus, which was originally misidentified as Ichthyornis based on its presence in marine deposits.


Ichthyodectes ctenodon is an extinct, 4-metre long ichthyodectid. It lived in the Western Interior Seaway of North America during the late Cretaceous. It was closely related to the 4 to 6 metre long Xiphactinus audax, and the 2-metre long Gillicus arcuatus, and like other ichthyodectids, I. ctenodon is presumed to have been a swift predator of smaller fish. As its species name suggests, I. ctenodon had small, uniformly sized teeth, as did its smaller relative, G. arcuatus, and may have simply sucked suitably sized prey into its mouth.


Lophorhothon (Langston, 1960) is a genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, the first genus of dinosaur discovered in Alabama, in the United States.


Odontaspis is a genus of sand shark with two extant species.


Pachyrhizodus is an extinct genus of ray-finned fish that lived during the Late Cretaceous in the Western Interior Seaway in North America and in Colombia, South America. The type species is P. basalis. The species P. etayoi, described in 1997 by María Páramo from the La Frontera Formation in Colombia, was named honouring Colombian geologist and paleontologist Fernando Etayo.


Protostega ('first roof') is an extinct genus of sea turtle containing a single species, Protostega gigas. Its fossil remains have been found in the Smoky Hill Chalk formation of western Kansas (Hesperornis zone, dated to 83.5 million years ago) and time-equivalent beds of the Mooreville Chalk Formation of Alabama. Fossil specimens of this species were first collected in 1871, and named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1872. With a length of 3 metres (9.8 ft), it is the second-largest sea turtle that ever lived, second only to the giant Archelon, and the third-largest turtle of all time behind Archelon and Stupendemys.


Scapanorhynchus ("Spade Snout") is an extinct genus of shark that lived from the early Cretaceous until possibly the Miocene if S. subulatus is a mitsukurinid and not a sand shark. Their extreme similarities to the living goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni, lead some experts to consider reclassifying it as Scapanorhynchus owstoni. However, most shark specialists regard the goblin shark to be distinct enough from its prehistoric relatives to merit placement in its own genus.

Scapanorhynchus had an elongated, albeit flattened snout and sharp awl-shaped teeth ideal for seizing fish, or tearing chunks of flesh from its prey. It was a small shark normally measuring about 65 cm, though the largest species, S. texanus, is thought to have reached up to 3 m (10 ft) in length, about the size of a modern goblin shark. (SOHEL) The largest tooth ever found is 7 cm near Atlantic Ocean.


Selmasaurus is an extinct genus of marine lizard belonging to the mosasaur family. It is classified as part of the Plioplatecarpinae subfamily alongside genera like Angolasaurus and Platecarpus. Two species are known, S. russelli and S. johnsoni, both are exclusively known from Santonian deposits in the United States.

Selmasaurus is unique among the mosasaurs in that its skull is unusually akinetic, meaning that it is incapable of widening to swallow larger prey. Most mosasaurs have skulls which possess "coupled kinesis" (mesokinesis and streptostyly), that is, parts of the jaw can open widely to accommodate large prey.


Serratolamna is an extinct genus of mackerel sharks belonging to the family Cretoxyrhinidae.

These sharks lived from the Cretaceous period to the Eocene epoch, approximately from 99.7 to 50.3 million years ago.Similar and related genera include Cretodus, Cretolamna, Cretoxyrhina, Dallasiella, Paraisurus, Plicatolamna.


Squalicorax is a genus of extinct lamniform shark known to have lived during the Cretaceous period.


Stratodus (meaning "stratosphere tooth") is a genus of prehistoric Alepisauriforme fish found in Cretaceous-aged marine strata of Alabama, Israel, and Niger. This sleek fish has an upper jaw filled with multiple rows of tiny teeth.


Toxochelys (TOKS uh KEE leez) is an extinct genus of marine turtle from the Late Cretaceous period. It is the most commonly found fossilized turtle species in the Smoky Hill Chalk, in western Kansas.

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