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Titanosaur tracks give clues to anatomy and gait



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new paper in PLoS ONE:


Bernat Vila, Oriol Oms, Àngel Galobart, Karl T. Bates, Victoria M.
Egerton & Phillip L. Manning (2013)
Dynamic Similarity in Titanosaur Sauropods: Ichnological Evidence from
the Fumanya Dinosaur Tracksite (Southern Pyrenees).
PLoS ONE 8(2): e57408.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057408
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057408



The study of a small sauropod trackway from the Late Cretaceous
Fumanya tracksite (southern Pyrenees, Catalonia) and further
comparisons with larger trackways from the same locality suggest a
causative relationship between gait, gauge, and body proportions of
the respective titanosaur trackmakers. This analysis, conducted in the
context of scaling predictions and using geometric similarity and
dynamic similarity hypotheses, reveals similar Froude numbers and
relative stride lengths for both small and large trackmakers from
Fumanya. Evidence for geometric similarity in these trackways suggests
that titanosaurs of different sizes moved in a dynamically similar
way, probably using an amble gait. The wide gauge condition reported
in trackways of small and large titanosaurs implies that they
possessed similar body (trunk and limbs) proportions despite large
differences in body size. These results strengthen the hypothesis that
titanosaurs possessed a distinctive suite of anatomical
characteristics that are well reflected in their tracks and trackways.