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UPDATE: Some Recent Track Finds from Maryland

Hello list,

    UPDATE:  Some of you have already heard about the 15-cm (across) right
sauropod manus imprint, 7 cm deep, found at the end of last month.  I might
mention that a friend of mine recently picked up a wonderfully similar,
right sauropod manus imprint only 4.5 cm across, at the same site where I
found the bigger one!  [Both tracks have excellent 'push-down', as viewed
from the underside of each unit.]  Like me, the friend feels that all the
Maryland-Cretaceous (probably Aptian?) finds should be in one collection, to
go to a singular institution when that time comes.  So, that little track is
here for all who are invited to see, along with the 150+ others.  The
'little guy' is in the same type substrate as the larger one.

    I also recently found a good-sized piece of siderite-consolidated
sandstone with two Ornithominic-like (hope that vague term offends no one)
foot-print impressions, going in the same direction.  They are each 16 cm
long and 9.5 cm wide.  Having been made in a rather loosely packed (but
apparently damp) sand, they do not have the detail of some of  other tracks
from the cretaceous of Maryland, but are, still, a nice, informative
addition to the collection.  Both imprints show the same kind of interesting
'heel' pad, reminding me of tracks of Rhea amaricana, excepting that in
these Cretaceous tracks the 'heel' pad is much more elongated, and the angle
of divarication between toes 2 and 4 in these is roughly 55 degrees, as
contrasts with maybe 82 - 85 degrees (? -- Jim Farlow knows these far better
than do I.) in the Rhea.

    Forgive me if this repeats anything I've said on-list before:  Not as
recently, but in the second half of 1998, I have found a couple of nicely
detailed, FIVE-FINGERED manus tracks, one 12 cm across, the other only 6 cm
wide.  In these two tracks, there are many similarities, but some slight
differences.  Both show clear-cut evidence of metacarpal-carpal elevation
the carpals (fingers) are firmly on the substrate.  They could, perhaps, be
Ceratopsian-produced, but one might also speculate that they are of
Stegosaurian or even Nodosaurian (or Ankylosaurian) origin.  Paleo-ichnology
has a lot to learn, especially in these rarer imprint types, so we must be
cautious toward assigning any 'final identity' to the track-maker(s).

    Until such time as an appropriate museum home is chosen for this
assemblage of over a dozen clearly distinct dinosaurian ichno-species,
paleontologists who have a track record (pun intended),  and are known for
fairness to others in the field (whether amateur or professional 'others'),
are invited to ask (via an e-mail inquiry to me) for an opportunity to see
and examine the collection -- just as they might in a museum facility.  Your
visit(s) would be held in strict confidence, unless you choose or give
permission to make your involvement public.  By such visits, I am hoping to
learn more, and to allow others to learn, about the wonderful fauna of
Cretaceous Maryland.

    I shall be glad to answer any questions such visitors may have.

    Ray Stanford