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Ornithopod(?) tracks with tail trace marks from China



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new paper:

Masato Fujita, Yuong-Nam Lee, Yoichi Azuma, and Daqing Li (2012)
Unusual tridactyl trackways with tail traces from the Lower Cretaceous
Hekou Group, Gansu Province, China.
Palaios 27(8): 560-570
doi: 10.2110/​palo.2012.p12-015r
http://palaios.geoscienceworld.org/content/27/8/560.abstract


Two unusual, well-preserved, tridactyl trackways associated with
sinuous grooves from the Lower Cretaceous Yanguoxia tracksite
(Yongjing County, Gansu Province, China) are described and the
behavior they present is discussed. The sinuous grooves are protracted
and simple, with high percent interruption metric values and a low
sinuosity. They are located between left and right pes tracks that
have three separated, rounded distal digit impressions but lack
plantar impressions. The presence of fine details such as delicate,
double-sided, branching mud wrinkles in the grooves, coupled with
backward drag marks at the rear of the tracks, indicate that the
tracks and grooves are true tracks. We interpret the sinuous grooves
as tail traces, and suggest that the tracks were made by a tridactyl
dinosaur, probably by an ornithopod. It is hypothesized that the
trackmakers made these trackways while partially submerged, propelled
by toe-only steps, and leaving a subaqueously emplaced trail.