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Theropod didactyl tracks from Africa (?Mid-Jurassic)



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

In case this new paper in PLoS ONE has not been 
mentioned: 

Mudroch, A., Richter, U., Joger, U., Kosma, R., Ide, O., 
et al. (2011) 
Didactyl Tracks of Paravian Theropods (Maniraptora) from 
the ?Middle Jurassic of Africa. 
PLoS ONE 6(2): e14642. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014642

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%
2Fjournal.pone.0014642

A new dinosaur tracksite from ?Middle Jurassic sediments 
of the Irhazer Group on the plains of Agadez (Rep. Niger, 
northwest Africa) revealed extraordinarily well preserved 
didactyl tracks of a digitigrade bipedal trackmaker. The 
distinct morphology of the pes imprints indicates a 
theropod trackmaker from a paravian maniraptoran closely 
related to birds.

The early age and the morphological traits of the tracks 
allow for description of the new ichnotaxon Paravipus 
didactyloides. A total of 120 tracks are assigned to 5 
individual trackways. The ?medium-sized? tracks with an 
average footprint length of 27.5 cm and footprint width 
of 23.1 cm are deeply imprinted into the track bearing 
sandstone.

A comparison with other didactyl tracks gives new 
insights into the foot morphology of advanced 
maniraptoran theropods and contributes to knowledge of 
their evolutionary history. The new ichnotaxon takes an 
important position in the ichnological fossil record of 
Gondwana and the mid-Jurassic biota worldwide, because it 
is among the earliest known records of paravian 
maniraptorans and of didactyl theropod tracks from Africa.