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Re: Elephants used to study sauropod tracks



Ben,

The subject of your mail was a bit misleading. From what I read, I thought that elephants studied sauropod tracks in the past, though they do not anymore.

I am quite relieved to see that it was not the case.

Cheers,
Jocelyn ^^

Le 11/11/2012 04:16, Ben Creisler a écrit :
From:  Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new paper not yet mentioned:

Brian F. Platt, Stephen T. Hasiotis and Daniel R. Hirmas (2012)
Empirical determination of physical controls on megafaunal footprint
formation through neoichnological experiments with elephants.
PALAIOS 27:. 725-737
doi: 10.2110/palo.2012.p12-006r
http://palaios.geoscienceworld.org/content/27/10/725.full

We performed a series of neoichnological experiments with elephants to
investigate the relationship between the various factors involved in
controlling megafaunal footprint formation. Our ultimate goal was to
provide a means to calculate original sedimentary properties of
fossil-footprint-bearing siliciclastic rocks, especially those
containing sauropod dinosaur tracks. Previous semiquantitative and
model-based research identified multiple variables that influence
footprint creation and preservation, but no rigorous, empirically
based models have been constructed. We conducted track-making trials
with experimental sediments and one adult female African elephant
(Loxodonta africana) and one adult female Asian elephant (Elephas
maximus) in a zoo setting. Data collected included track dimensions,
sediment particle size distribution, sediment bulk density (ρb),
volumetric water content of the sediment (θv), and trackmaker walking
velocity (v) and weight. We performed multiple regression analysis
with a backward elimination technique to obtain the following
relationship: where Vn is track volume normalized by track length,
measured in cm2, θv is in percent, ρb is measured in g/cm3, and v is
measured in m/s. [equatoin] We demonstrate the utility of this
equation by calculating the original moisture content of
sauropod-track-bearing siltstone and sandstone beds in the Upper
Jurassic Morrison Formation. Original water content values are
extremely useful for paleoenvironmental and paleohydrological
interpretations of sediments and paleosols. Furthermore, paleoclimate
studies can benefit greatly from original soil moisture values
calculated from megafaunal footprints associated with paleosols.



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"As a Professor of Science, I assure you we did in fact evolve from filthy monkey men." Hubert J. Farnworth.