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Dinosaur footprints from Lower Cretaceous of Portugal



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:


Vanda F. Santos, Pedro M. Callapez & Nuno P.C. Rodrigues (2012)
Dinosaur footprints from the Lower Cretaceous of the Algarve Basin
(Portugal): New data on the ornithopod palaeoecology and
palaeobiogeography of the Iberian Peninsula.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2012.07.001
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019566711200119X

Fieldwork carried out during the past few years in the Algarve region
(Portugal) has allowed the description of dinosaur tracks for the
first time in the Mesozoic Algarve Basin. Five track levels of Early
Barremian age have been described from the Santa and Salema tracksites
situated near Vila do Bispo (southwest Algarve). These comprise
theropod and iguanodontian footprints (Iguanodontipus isp. was
identified at the Santa tracksite). A sequence of subcircular and
tridactyl impressions with a characteristic morphology of ornithopod
footprints with a high pace angulation value made it possible to
determine how erosion changes the print morphology and to understand
the sequences of subcircular impressions with a high value of pace
angulation in the track record. These dinosaur footprints are
preserved in marginal-marine carbonate sediments of a large inner
shelf palaeoenvironment with shoals and tidal-flat areas that were
periodically exposed. The warm and dry climate favoured extensive
growth of algal mats and the deposition of dolomitic sediments. The
discovery of these track levels has also enabled the
palaeobiogeographical data available for the Early Cretaceous
Iguanodontia of the Iberian Peninsula and southwestern Europe to be
refined.