Bayan Shireh Formation

The Bayan Shireh Formation (also known as Baynshiree/Baynshire Formation or Baynshirenskaya Svita) is a geological formation in Mongolia, that dates to the Late Cretaceous period. It was first described and established by Vasiliev et al. 1959.[1]

Bayan Shireh Formation
Stratigraphic range: Cenomanian-Santonian
~96–89 Ma
TypeGeological formation
Sub-unitsUpper beds, lower beds
UnderliesJavkhlant Formation
OverliesBaruunbayan Formation
ThicknessUp to 300 m (980 ft)
PrimaryClaystone, sandstone
OtherConglomerate, mudstone
Coordinates44°18′N 109°12′E / 44.3°N 109.2°E / 44.3; 109.2
Approximate paleocoordinates46°30′N 100°00′E / 46.5°N 100.0°E / 46.5; 100.0
RegionGobi Desert
Country Mongolia
Type section
Named forBayan Shireh
Named byVasiliev et al.
Year defined1959
Cretaceous-aged dinosaur fossil localities of Mongolia.PNG
Fossil localities in Mongolia. From C to D, mainly Bayan Shireh locations


The Bayan Shireh Formation is primarily composed by varicoloured claystones and sandstones with calcareous concretions and characterized by grey mudstones and yellowish-brown medium grained sandstones.[1][2] Up to 300 m (980 ft) thick, the most complete sections are found in the eastern Gobi Desert, consisting of fine-grained, often cross-stratified gray sandstone interbedded with claystone and concretionary, intraformational conglomerates with relatively thick units of red to brown mudstone in the upper part.[3][4] The Baynshire and Burkhant localities are mainly composed by mudstone, siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerates, with most of their sedimentation being fluvial.[5][6][7] The environments that were present on the Bayan Shireh Formation consisted mainly on semi-arid climates with large water bodies, such as rivers or lakes.[8][7] Although it is considered to be partially lacustrine,[9] largescale cross-stratification in many of the sandstone layers at the Baynshire locality seem to indicate that a large meandering fluvial system was present. It has been implied that during the late Bayan Shirehnian times, large rivers with direct connections to the sea drained a prominent part of the eastern Gobi region.[3][6][8]


According to Jerzykiewicz and Russell, the Bayan Shireh Formation can be divided into 2 informal units: upper and lower beds.[5] Danilov and colleagues have suggested that the lower beds are Cenomanian to early Turonian, and the upper beds are late Turonian to Santonian in age.[10] While the lower beds are composed by extensive conglomerate that indicates the ancient presence of very active rivers, the upper beds are mainly composed by mudstone and claystone that is interbedded by sandstone, indicating again, the presence of rivers but also lakes and other water bodies.[11]

Based on comparisons with other formations, Jerzykiewicz and Russell suggested that the Bayan Shireh paleofauna seems to correspond best with the Turonian through early Campanian stages of the Late Cretaceous, about 93 to 80 million years ago.[5] However, examination of the magnetostratigraphy of the formation indicates that the entire Bayan Shireh lies within the Cretaceous Long Normal, which lasted only until the end of the Santonian stage, giving a possible Cenomanian through Late Santonian age, between 98 and 83 million years ago.[6] In 2012, Averianov and Sues re-examined many formations from the Gobi Desert and using biostratigraphic occurrences and previous dating, the Bayan Shireh Formation was considered to be Cenomanian to Santonian in age. The lower beds dating to 98 million and 90 million years ago (early Cenomanian to late Turonian), and the upper beds dating to 90 million and 83 million years ago (late Turonian to late Santonian).[8] Calcite U–Pb measurements performed by Kurumada and colleagues in 2020 have estimated the exact age of the Bayan Shireh Formation from 95.9 ± 6.0 million to 89.6 ± 4.0 million years ago, Cenomanian trough Santonian ages.[12]


A potential correlation between the Iren Dabasu Formation has been long suggested by most authors, mainly based on the highly similar vertebrate assemblages.[5][13][14][15] However, Van Itterbeeck et al. 2005 argued against this correlation concluding that instead, the Iren Dabasu Formation was coeval with the younger Nemegt Formation based on the charophyte and ostracode assemblages; therefore, these formations were dated to the Late Campanian-Early Maastrichtian.[16] Averianov and Sues instead proposed a correlation between the Bayan Shireh, Iren Dabasu and Bissekty formations.[8] In 2015, Tsuihiji and team found the Iren Dabasu-Nemegt correlation to be inconsistent since the microfossil assemblages used by Van Itterbeeck and colleagues were not restricted to the Maastrichtian period and the similarities between these assemblages were most probably due to a similar deposition and climate settings.[17]

Paleobiota of the Bayan Shireh FormationEdit

In terms of biodiversity, therizinosaurs and turtles were the most abundant vertebrates across the formation, as evidenced on numerous remains.[10][18] Nevertheless, hadrosauroids were pretty abundant too, particularly at the Baynshire locality with numerous remains unearthed from this area and a new unnamed hadrosauroid. In addition, most specimens of Gobihadros come from this locality.[7][19][11] Also, niche partitioning has been reported within the therizinosaurids Erlikosaurus and Segnosaurus,[20] and the ankylosaurs Talarurus and Tsagantegia.[21] Mammals however, are extremely uncommon; Tsagandelta is the only mammal described so far.[22] Besides vertebrate fossils, abundant fossil fruits have been collected from the Bor Guvé and Khara Khutul localities and they are especially abundant at Bor Guvé. Although they resemble Abelmoschus esculentus their taxonomic position remains unclear and further examination is required.[23]

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.


Theropods reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Achillobator A. giganticus Burkhant "Maxilla and fragmentary postcrania."[24] A giant dromaeosaurid.  
Alectrosaurus? A. olseni? Bayshin Tsav "Two specimens, fragmentary skull and postcrania."[25][26] A tyrannosauroid also present in the Iren Dabasu Formation  
Dendroolithidae spp. Indeterminate Baynshire "Various nests and egg clutches."[27][28] Eggs probably laid by a therizinosaur  
Enigmosaurus E. mongoliensis Khara Khutul "Incompletely preserved pelvis."[29][30][31] A therizinosauroid.  
Erlikosaurus E. andrewsi Bayshin Tsav Upper beds "Skull, right pes, and left humerus."[30][32][31] A therizinosaurid.  
"Gallimimus" "G. mongoliensis" Bayshin Tsav "Complete skull with postcrania only lacking the caudal region."[33] An informally named ornithomimid that actually differs from Gallimimus.  
Garudimimus G. brevipes Bayshin Tsav "Skull with fragmented postcrania."[34][35][36] An ornithomimosaur.  
Segnosaurus S. galbinensis Amtgai, Bayshin Tsav, Khara Khutul, Ulribe Khuduk "Multiple specimens including the lower jaws and partial postcrania."[37][30][31] A large therizinosaurid.  
Tyrannosauroidea indet. Indeterminate Tsagan Teg "An isolated nearly complete left frontal."[38] A tyrannosauroid.
Undescribed ornithomimosaur Indeterminate Amtgai "Nearly 1 m (3.3 ft) long ulna."[39] A large ornithomimosaur.
Undescribed ornithomimosaurs Indeterminate Baynshire, Bayshin Tsav, Khongil Tsav, Sheeregeen Gashoon, Shine Us Khuduk "More than five specimens and a bonebed containing mainly postcranial elements."[40][41][42][43][44] Multiple ornithomimosaurian taxa.
Undescribed therizinosaurs Indeterminate Bayshin Tsav, Khara Khutul, Shine Us Khuduk "Cranial and postcranial elements from multiple specimens."[45][46][47][48][49][40][31] Some elements may represent already named taxa.
Unnamed caenagnathid Indeterminate Tsagan Teg "Partial lower jaw similar to Gigantoraptor."[17] A large oviraptorosaur.  
Unnamed therizinosaurid Indeterminate Ulribe Khuduk "Forelimbs with two digits, partial pelvis and vertebrae."[50] A two-fingered therizinosaurid.
Unnamed velociraptorine Indeterminate Shine Us Khuduk, Tel Ulan Chaltsai "Fragmentary crania and postcrania from two specimens."[51][52][53] A dromaeosaurid.


Ornithischians reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Amblydactylus spp. Indeterminate Baynshire "Five three-toed footprints."[54] Ornithopod tracks.
Amtocephale A. gobiensis Amtgai "Nearly complete frontoparietal dome."[55] A primitive pachycephalosaurid.
Amtosaurus A. magnus Amtgai "Partial braincase." An ankylosaurid now regarded as nomen dubium.[56]  
"Gadolosaurus" Not given. Bayshin Tsav "Nearly complete skeleton from a juvenile individual."[57] A hadrosauroid.  
Graciliceratops G. mongoliensis Sheeregeen Gashoon "Fragmented skull and postcrania."[58][59] A neoceratopsian originially identified as Microceratus.  
Gobihadros G. mongoliensis Bayshin Tsav, Baynshire, Char Teeg, Khongil Tsav, Khoorai Tsav Upper beds "Multiple specimens with a virtually complete skull and postcranial remains".[19][11] A hadrosauroid.  
Maleevus M. disparoserratus Sheeregeen Gashoon "Partial maxillae and a referred braincase." An ankylosaurid now regarded as nomen dubium.[60]
Ovaloolithidae indet. Indeterminate Mogoyn Ulagiyn Khaets "Eggs, shells and egg clutches."[61] Eggs probably laid by an ornithopod.
Talarurus T. plicatospineus Bayshin Tsav, Baynshire, Shine Us Khuduk "Multiple specimens including partial to nearly complete skulls and postcranial remains."[62][63][64][65][21] An ankylosaurid.  
Tsagantegia T. longicranialis Tsagan Teg "Skull lacking lower jaws."[66][21] An ankylosaurid.
Unnamed hadrosauroid Indeterminate Baynshire, Char Teeg Upper beds "Partial right dentary and sparse postcranial remains."[11] A hadrosauroid slightly smaller than Gobihadros.


Sauropods reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Erketu E. ellisoni Bor Guvé "Vertebrae and postcrania."[23] A somphospondylan.  
Unnamed titanosaur Indeterminate Bor Guvé "Vertebrae."[67] A titanosaur.

Other reptilesEdit


Turtles reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Charitonyx C. tajanikolaevae Khara Khutul "Fragmented postcrania."[68][69] A nanhsiungchelyid.
Gobiapalone G. orlovi Baynshire, Burkhant, Khongil Tsav "Skull and postcrania."[10] A trionychid.
Hanbogdemys H. orientalis Khara Khutul "Fragmented cervical remains."[69] A nanhsiungchelyid.
Kharakhutulia K. kalandadzei Khara Khutul "Fragmented postcrania."[69] A nanhsiungchelyid.
Kirgizemys sp. Indeterminate Khara Khutul "Fragmented postcrania."[69] A nanhsiungchelyid.
Kizylkumemys K. schultzi Khara Khutul Lower beds "Fragmented postcrania."[70][69] A nanhsiungchelyid.
Lindholmemys L. martinsoni Sheeregeen Gashoon, Usheen Khuduk Upper beds "Fragmentary shell."[71] A lindholmemydid.
"Trionyx" T. baynshirensis Baynshire "Fragmentary shell."[10] A trionychine.


Crocodylomorphs reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images


P. gradilifrons Sheeregeen Gashoon "Complete skull with fragmentary postcrania."[72][73] A paralligatorid.
P. major Sheeregeen Gashoon "Fragmentary crania."[74][73] A paralligatorid.
Unnamed crocodylomorph ichnotaxon Indeterminate Baynshire "Swim tracks."[18] Tracks made underwater by a swimming individual.


Pterosaurs reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Azhdarchidae spp. Indeterminate Bayshin Tsav, Burkhant "Cervical vertebrae."[75] An azhdarchid.



Deltatheroidans reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Tsagandelta T. dashzevegi Tsagan Tsonj "Partial left dentary."[22] A deltatheroidan.



Sharks reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Hybodus H. kansaiensis Bayshin Tsav "Teeth and postcrania."[8] A hybodontid.


Osteichthyes spp. Indeterminate "Unspecified material."[8] Bony fish.


Flora reported from the Bayan Shireh Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic Position Material Notes Images
Bothrocaryum B. gobience Khara Khutul "Unspecified material."[76] A cornacean.
Nyssoidea N. mongolica Khara Khutul "Unspecified material."[76] A cornacean.
Angiosperm spp. Indeterminate Bor Guvé, Khara Khutul "Fossil fruits."[23] Very abundant at Bor Guvé.

See alsoEdit


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