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Re: Big Dinosaur Prints Found



Ray Stanford wrote: Fabio M. Dalla Veccia [sic] wrote:
<<"Recently I have published a paper about a Cretaceous dinosaur tracksite in
Europe with probable caudal prints of sauropods. But, unfortunately (this
is ironic, of course) "my" sauropods are dwarf not giant and mass media
want giant stuff (and powerful press agencies nearby).">>

    <Yes, unfortunately it seems that the media often agree with ads for the
recent Godzilla movie, which declared, "SIZE DOES MATTER!"
    And, a reference was provided: "Dalla Vecchia, F.M. & Tarlao, A., 2000,
Part II - Paleontology. In Dalla Vecchia, F.M., Tarlao, A., Tunis, G. &
Venturini, S., New dinosaur track sites in the Albian (Early Cretaceous) of
the Istrian  peninsula (Croatia): Mem. Sci. Geol. Padova: 52/1: 227-293."

    Am I right in judging from the english language title, that the paper is
in english?  If so and there is a way you could legitimately (without
violating copyright conditions) send me a copy of the paper by e-mail or as
hard copy (I could provide you the mailing address.), it would be very much
appreciated.>>

PROVIDE ME YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
NEARLY ALL MY SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ARE IN ENGLISH. WE WRITE TO COMMUNICATE.
AND DO NOT WORRY: MY ENGLISH HAS BEEN REVISED BY JIM FARLOW AND MARTIN
LOCKLEY.
 IT IS A HARD TASK TO SEND BY E-MAIL 100 PAGES OF TEXT, WITH MORE THAN 60
FIGURES AND A MAP 70 x 100 cm. I WILL ASK THE MUSEUM OR THE UNIVERSITY OF
TRIESTE TO SEND YOU AN OFFPRINT. I HOPE THEY STILL HAVE OFFPRINTS.

    One question however.  Because you said, "...my sauropods are dwarf not
giant..." I wonder if you are inferring actual dwarfism in the trackmakers,
or whether you are just saying these are tracks made by rather small
sauropods.

INFERRING ACTUAL DWARFISM. ON THE BASIS OF THE FOSSIL RECORD (INEVITABLY
LIMITED) AND GEOLOGICAL DATA. THE SIZE OF SAUROPOD FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAMPLE
IS HALF THE SIZE OF MORE OR LESS COEVAL SAUROPOD SAMPLES (SEE THE ALBIAN
SAMPLE FROM TEXAS). NO PEDAL PRINT LONGER THAN 50 cm IN THE ALBIAN and
CENOMANIAN SAMPLES IN ISTRIA (the paper on Cenomanian footprints is in
press: DALLA VECCHIA F.M., TARLAO A., TUNIS G. & VENTURINI S., Dinosaur
track sites in the upper Cenomanian (Late Cretaceous) of the Istrian
peninsula (Croatia). Boll. Soc. Paleont. It., 40/1.). IT IS NOT ONLY THE
SMALL SIZE OF THE SAUROPOD FOOTPRINTS (SMALL SAUROPOD FOOTPRINTS ARE FOUND
IN KOREA, PORTUGAL, COLORADO etc.), BUT THE ABSENCE OF LARGE FOOTPRINTS.
FURTHERMORE, ALL THE TRIDACTYL FOOTPRINTS ARE LESS THAN 25 cm LONG, THE
MEAN IS AROUND 18-20 cm. NO LARGE PREDATORS.
LET'S SEE HOW THE LOCAL PALEOGEOGRAPHIC CONDITION WAS DURING
ALBIAN-CENOMANIAN TIMES. ISTRIA WAS THE NORTHERN POINT OF A WIDE CARBONATE
PLATFORM (SOMETHING SIMILAR TO PRESENT-DAY BAHAMAS BANK) PLACED IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE TETHYS OCEAN. THE CARBONATE PLATFORM DETACHED FROM CONNECTION
WITH THE AFRICAN PLATE DURING APTIAN TIMES, BECAUSE OF THE OPENING OF A
RELATIVELY SMALL OCEANIC BASIN BETWEEN IT AND THE LYBIAN SECTOR OF AFRICA
(see Dercourt et al., 1993; 2000).

LET'S SEE THE DINOSAURS IN THE CARBONATE PLATFORM B E F O R E THE OPENING
OF THIS OCEANIC BASIN. IN THE HAUTERIVIAN-BARREMIAN Istrian SITE OF
VALLE/BALE SAUROPODS REMAINS SUGGEST THE PRESENCE OF RATHER LARGE
INDIVIDUALS (17 METRES IS A GOOD LENGHT)AND TAXONOMICALLY SIMILAR TO THOSE
COEVAL LIVING IN CONTINENTAL AREAS (SEE MY 1998a PAPER DESCRIBING MOST OF
THE MATERIAL: YOU CAN FIND IT AT  www.fante.speleo.it). IN THE BARREMIAN
SITE OF BRIONI, THEROPOD FOOTPRINTS ARE ALL LARGE, UP TO 45 CM LONG (MEAN:
33 cm), LARGE THEROPOD FOOTPRINTS ARE FOUND ALSO IN OTHER TWO HAUTERIVIAN
SITES OF THE REGION.

I HYPOTHESIZE THAT THE DINOSAUR FAUNA WAS CONTINENTAL BEFORE THE APTIAN
SEPARATION OF THE PLATFORM FROM AFRICA, INSULAR AFTER THE SEPARATION.
THE HADROSAURS WHICH ARRIVED ON THE PLATFORM PROBABLY AFTER CENOMANIAN
TIMES AND WERE THERE SURELY DURING LATE SANTONIAN (READ "ANTONIO") WERE
DWARF TOO, BECAUSE THE PLATFORM WAS STILL SURROUNDED BY THE OCEAN. IN FACT
"ANTONIO" IS ONLY 4-4.5 METRES LONG, AND ALSO THE OTHER SPECIMENS FROM THE
SAME SITE ARE MUCH SMALLER THAN THE USUAL SIZE OF "DUCK-BILLED" DINOSAURS
(SEE WEISHAMPEL & HORNER, 1990; WEISHAMPEL et al., 1991).
 
    <If actual dwarfism is meant, is there some clear-cut evidence of this,
such as nearby tell-tale skeletal materials that are of small sauropods that
were, all the same, unambiguously adult?>

FOR MORE EXPLANATIONS, SEE MY PAPERS.

 <Finally, because the paper is not at hand, any brief description of
those sauropod tracks for us, giving manus and pes dimensions, would be
appreciated.  Also, do the imprints show any appreciable morphological
detail, and, if so, how does that detail compare to Texas' Paluxy riverbed
sauropod tracks (ichnospecies Brontopodus birdi), for example?>

I DO NOT WANT TO BORE THE OTHER LIST MEMBERS WITH A LOT OF PARTICULARS. I
THINK WE DID ALL THAT WAS POSSIBLE TO DO WITH THE ISTRIAN FOOTPRINTS,
INCLUDING, OF COURSE, COMPARISONS AND TAXONOMIC STATEMENTS. BE PATIENT AND
READ THE PAPER. I ANTICIPATE JUST THIS:

Phylogenetic hierarchy (after Salgado et al., 1997): Archosauria,
Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha, Sauropoda, Neosauropoda, Titanosauriformes,
Titanosauria.

Ichnogenus: Titanosaurimanus nov.
Type-ichnospecies: Titanosaurimanus nana ichnogen. nov. ichnosp. nov.
 (Figs 18-30).

Holotype: SOLII-S5m (Figs 22A, 27 and 28B), manual print (plastotype, cast
in silicon rubber, stored at the Museo Paleontologico Cittadino of
Monfalcone, Gorizia, Italy).
Paratypes: SOLII-S6m, SOLII-S27m, SOLII-S14m, manual prints; SOLII-S1p,
SOLII-S7p, SOLII-S8p, SOLII-S9p, SOLII-S10p, SOLII-S11p, SOLII-S13p,
SOLII-S30p, pedal prints. Plastotypes, casts in silicon rubber, stored at
the Museo Paleontologico Cittadino of Monfalcone, Gorizia, Italy.
Etymology: Titanosaur(us)+manus, latin for hand (hand like that of
titanosaurs); nana, latin female for ?dwarf?. 
Referred specimens: All the sauropod prints in the Solaris site (outcrops
SOLI and SOLII).
Locality: Solaris Campground, Punta del Dente near Cervera/Cervar village,
Torre/Tar municipality, Istria, Croatia.
Horizon: Upper Albian, limestones with _Neoiraqia insolita_. 
Diagnosis: Small sauropod, pedal print not longer than 50 cm, manual prints
not wider than 25 cm; prints of manual digits I, II, IV and V are distinct,
rounded and of subequal size;  the print of manual digit III is larger than
the others and roughly rectangular; pedal claw prints are present on digits
I and II and possibly on digit III whereas digit IV is rounded; digit I is
never larger or longer than the others, never the most projecting digit,
and lacks a large claw mark; medium-gauge trackway with complete or nearly
complete overprint of the pedal print on the manual print.
Remarks: Probable caudal marks are also known. There is the theoretical
possibility that the separate state of manual digits of Titanosaurimanus
nana nov. ichnogen. nov. ichnosp. is common among sauropod forefoot and
that it is not evident in manual prints which are less well preserved than
S5m. In fact, a separate circular print of digit IV is recognizable in a
footprint from the Lower Cretaceous of NE Italy (Dalla Vecchia, 1999; see
Fig. 32C). However, in other apparently well preserved manual prints, like
Brontopodus birdi fron Texas, the digital separation is not so evident.

IF SOMEONE IS INTERESTED FOR PROFESSIONAL REASONS (SORRY, WE HAVE PROBABLY
A LIMITED NUMBER OF OFFPRINTS, BECAUSE OF OUR VERY SCARCE FUNDS FOR
RESEARCH AND OFFPRINTS PURCHASE) TO THIS PAPER, HE CAN ASK FOR INFO TO
MOSPELEO@TISCALINET.IT
I DO NOT THINK THAT THE PAPER IS COVERED BY COPYRIGHT (IT IS PUBLISHED ON A
UNIVERSITY JOURNAL), THUS IF SOMEONE IS SO BRAVE, HE CAN PUT IT IN THE
WEB(SORRY, I AM NOT ABLE TO FIND A BETTER, POLITE ENGLISH WAY TO EXPRESS
THE CONCEPT).  
  
ALL THE BEST

Ah, a last thing to English-speaking people. Read "Dalla Vecchia" as "Dalla
Vekkia". I love Spain and Spanish culture, but I am not Spanish.

Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia, PhD
Museo Paleontologico Cittadino
Via Valentinis 134
I-34074 Monfalcone
ITALY
http://www.fante.speleo.it