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Dinosaur Tracks



I have recently began to read fascinating information about Dinosaur
Ichnology, specifically the trace evidence represented as tracks.  There is
some caution about interpreting tracks; that often there are three kinds of
tracks made.  Of course the animal makes one true or real track, and there
sometimes are a natural cast made by sediment above it.  Also the animal's
weight can make an impression in the sediment layer below the surface
layer - causing the 'ghost track' or 'under track'.  The caution is that one
must not interpret the 'under track' as a 'surface track', thus reading
morphological information [such as thickness of footprint (the details are
distorted)] that isn't really there.  The reason for this mistake is that
one may think an 'under track' is a 'surface track' that was eroded.  My
question is how do you know for sure that you are actually looking at a
surface track without all the detail, or that you are looking at an 'under
track'?  It sounds like the two are easily confused.

Also I read of British zoologist R. McNeill Alexander's formula for finding
an animal's speed, being defined as:

EE = quantity raised to the __ power.

speed (meters/second) = (0.25) x (gravitational constant)EE0.5 x (stride
length)EE1.67 x (hip height)EE -1.17

How exactly do you determine the hip height?  Alexander suggested that
according to dinosaur skeletons the ratio is:

hip height = about 4 x track length [for single print]

Is this the accepted method?  I am hesitant because it seems to leave a lot
of room for error due to individual species variation, or does the above
method truly find the hip height?  If it is, I shall be out with a pen,
paper, and calculator the next time I visit a Track Way Site!

~Brandon Haist