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Now Ichnology (WAS Semi-Sprawled Sauropods) (Was: WAVP Report)

At 1:32 PM -0700 2/19/01, Richard W Travsky wrote:
On Mon, 19 Feb 2001, Ken Kinman wrote:
      Unfortunately, there really are no hard "facts" about posture of
 dinosaurs, although some interpretations are perhaps more widely believed

What information can be gleaned from trackways? (I would not think it necessary to associate tracks with a specific species, just whether, in they case, they are sauropod or not.)

Dear Rich,

Good question. You can get so very much information from trace fossils. They include much, much more than just footprints in the rock.

Most basically: Trace fossils are indirect evidence of life. Life was actually there - something made the track. Deposition was rapid enough to preserve it.

Ichnology is an essential part of a paleoecolgical interpretation. Ichnofossils supply (among other things) evidence that the track maker was actually IN the place where the trace occurs - traces don't transport. Among other things traces provide evidence of the type of behavior that was occurring, information about the degree of oxygenation of the substrate, substrate consistency, paleocurrent directions, associations (facies and trophic). They provide sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and paleoenvironmental information. They give you clues about ocean water chemistry, substrate chemistry, terrestrail soil chemistry.....and much, much more.

For a good and informative read, pick up a copy of:
Donovon, S. K., 1994. "The Paleobiology of trace fossils."

Lockley, M. 1991. "Tracking dinosaurs: a new look at an ancient world."

Try doing a search for "Farlow" in GEOref. Many excellent papers on dinosaur trackways, among others.

Then, for example, check the works of Chin, Seilacher, Pemberton, Rindsberg, Frey, Eckdale, MacEachern, Bottjer, Babcock, Currie, A., and so many more! There are many, many scientists who research ichnofossils. The list of ichnologist paleogeobiolgists, both vertebrate and invertebrate, could be very very long and it does indeed contain several characters. Character, is good. =)

Apologies to anyone who reads this and doesn't see your name on that list. It is not intentional. It would just get way, way long, and oh well. Tschuss!

Marilyn W.
                        =00=  =00=  =00=  =00=
                        Marilyn D. Wegweiser, Ph.D.
                Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
                     Cincinnati Natural History Museum

Assistant Professor of Geology
Department of Geology                   mdwegweiser@bsu.edu
Ball State University                   Office: 765-285-8268;765-285-8270
Muncie, Indiana                         FAX:    765-285-8265