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Re: Semi-Sprawled Sauropods (Was: WAVP Report)

    Concerning the subject of 'Semi-Sprawled Sauropods',  Richard W. Travsky
asked, "What information can be gleaned from trackways?"

    While I am not a professional paleo-ichnologist (and cartainly no expert
on sauropod bones), my amateur experience in studying both Jurassic and
Cretaceous sauropod trackways assures me that manus placement along these
animals' courses gives no suggestion whatsoever of any splay to the front
legs of the trackmakers.  Even the 'wide-guage - trackways (such as the
famous Cretaceous, Glen Rose, Texas ones) show remarkably small seperation
from the trackway's central line.  In fact, some Jurassic Morrison Formation
sauropod trackways show manus imprints almost touching that line.

    Furthermore, if there were any appreciable splay in sauropod front legs,
one might expect to see at least slight evidence of manus rotation, but I
know of no evidence of this whatsoever.  After closely examining sauropod
manus impressions (very small to rather large ones) from Maryland's Early
Cretaceous -- and with several of them showing excellent impressions of all
five digits -- I am certain that none of them evidences any of the rotation
that seemingly should be there if the legs were sprawled.

    From my viewpoint as a student of trackways and tracks, there was no
sauropod sprawl.  And there can be no reasonable doubt that the trackways
and tracks to which I refer were made by sauropods.  What species of
sauropods made individual trackways it really inconsequential to the
question at hand -- or should I say, "at manus". :)

    Ray Stanford

    "You know my method.  It is founded upon the observance of trifles."  --
Sherlock Holmes in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"