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Deltapodus (stegosaur?) tracks from Cretaceous of China



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

Lida Xing, Martin G. Lockley, Richard T. McCrea, Gerard D. Gierliński,
Lisa G. Buckley, Jianping Zhang, Liqi Qi & Chengkai Jia (2013)
First record of Deltapodus tracks from the Early Cretaceous of China.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2013.01.006
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667113000128




Despite being widely distributed in the Middle–Late Jurassic and
earliest Cretaceous of Europe and sparsely distributed in the Late
Jurassic of North America, the thyreophoran ichnotaxon Deltapodus is
represented largely by morphologically suboptimal material. In
particular, manus tracks are poorly defined in almost all previously
reported specimens, likely due to preservational factors. Nonetheless,
two ichnospecies, D. brodericki and D. ibericus, have been erected
based on European material. Here we report the first Chinese examples
of Deltapodus from the Cretaceous of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous
Region, China. These specimens are also the youngest unambiguous
occurrence of this ichnogenus, and the second reported occurrence from
Asia. The specimens have well-defined manus traces with readily
identifiable traces of digits I and II, enabling their placement in a
new ichnospecies: Deltapodus curriei ichnosp. nov. Although not
unequivocal in all cases, Deltapodus is likely of stegosaurian
affinity, given the occurrence of stegosaurian body fossils in related
deposits in Xinjiang. Deltapodus tracks are far more common and
widespread than Stegopodus or Apulosauripus, the only other
ichnogenera with tridactyl pes prints that have been attributed to
large thyreophorans.