Mentor: Professor Bruce Saunders
Fossil faunas from the uppermost Tinton Formation (“Pinna Layer”) and the basal layer of the overlying Hornerstown Formation in Monmouth County, New Jersey are located directly above the iridium anomaly associated with the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. A disappearance of most fauna at the top of the Pinna Layer has already been noted in a previous study. This investigation will further document this reduction, and will look for changes in taxonomic diversity, population levels, and faunal ecology through both layers. Findings will be compared against other studies of age-equivalent formations and will also be compared to hypotheses surrounding mass extinctions, including the “Lilliput Effect,” which contends that fauna are dwarfed following a mass extinction.