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Re: Footprints Reveal Dinosaur Life



    The A.P. article, Footprints Reveal Dinosaur Life, says:

"The tracks suggest that large and lumbering plant
eaters of different types -- some as long as 90 feet
and weighing 10 tons or more -- walked together across
an open tidal plain, perhaps fleeing for their lives.
These animals were all sauropods, but of different
types."

    As one who has studied sauropod tracks of various worldwide locations, I
anxiously await a chance to read the Science article and examine any
evidence to back up such a claim.  My real concern is the statement that,
"These animals were all sauropods, but of different types."

    By "different types" one might presume that the meaning is "different
species".  If that is the claim being made, the authors had better have some
exceptionally high quality, detailed trackways that consist neither of
underprints, overprints, nor impressions distorted by flow-back, other
factors of environment, and/or by movement.

    The claim of sauropod species diagnosis on the basis of footprints is
one that should be examined, but with a healthy grain of salt.  If a
multi-species claim is not clearly substantiated by evidence presented in
the scientific paper, then the attention-evoking claim of having the first
evidence of multiple species herding is nothing but a sham.

    Also, if anyone is claiming that the admittedly distance-separated
["nearby track", to quote the A.P. article] and allegedly also
species-diagnostic track (trackway?) of a "megalosaurus" is definitely the
cause of this herding, then there better be a time machine movie!  But I
suspect the paper says no more than, "suggests", or the like.

    Perhaps, theoretically, someone might find near-miraculous trackway
evidence of the passage of a multi-species herd of sauropods, but don't bet
on it.  I'll grant Julia her Day :) in court, and hope she's right.  But I'm
not holding my breath.

    Ray Stanford

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