Paleocene dinosaurs describe families or genera of non-avian dinosaurs that may have survived the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event 65.5 million years ago. Although almost all evidence indicates that dinosaurs (other than birds) all went extinct at the K-T boundary, there is some scattered evidence that these non-avian dinosaurs lived for a short period of time during the Paleocene epoch. The evidence for Paleocene dinosaurs is rare and remains controversial.


Several researchers have stated that some dinosaurs survived into the Paleocene and therefore the extinction of dinosaurs was gradual. Their arguments were based on the finding of dinosaur remains in the Hell Creek Formation up to 1.3 metres above (40,000 years later than) the K-T boundary. Similar reports have come from other parts of the world, including China.[1]

Recently, there is possible evidence of a Dead Clade Walking: in 2001, evidence was presented that pollen samples recovered near a fossilized hadrosaur femur recovered in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone at the San Juan River indicate that the animal lived in Tertiary times, approximately 64.5 million years ago or about 1 million years after the K-T event.[2] Many scientists, however, dismiss the "Paleocene dinosaurs" as re-worked, i.e. washed out of their original locations and then re-buried in much later sediments.[3] A compelling argument against re-working would be a complete or at least associated skeleton (e.g. more than one bone from the same individual) found above the K-T boundary. As yet no such finds have been reported.

2009 Palaeontologia Electronica articleEdit

In April of 2009, the online SVP publication Palaeontologia Electronica released an article published by James E. Fassett that stated a number of bones that were clearly dated to the Paleocene Epoch were uncovered in the San Juan Basin. Thirty-four bones from an individual hadrosaur were uncovered in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone formation, which provided evidence that at least some Paleocene dinosaur fossils had not been reoworked from earlier, Cretaceous sediments. [4][5]


  1. ^ Sloan, R. E., Rigby, K,. Van Valen, L. M., Gabriel, Diane (1986). "Gradual dinosaur extinction and simultaneous ungulate radiation in the Hell Creek formation". Science 232 (4750): 629–633. doi:10.1126/science.232.4750.629.. Retrieved on 2007-05-18. 
  2. ^ Fassett, JE, Lucas, SG, Zielinski, RA, and Budahn, JR (2001). "Compelling new evidence for Paleocene dinosaurs in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado, USA". Catastrophic events and mass extinctions, Lunar and Planetary Contribution 1053: 45–46. Retrieved on 2007-05-18. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, RM (2003). "No Paleocene dinosaurs in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico". Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 35 (5): 15. Retrieved on 2007-07-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ The official Palaeontologia Electronica article
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