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Ornithopod Tracks in Base of Cretaceous in Spain

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Diego Castanera, Carlos Pascual, Novella L. Razzolini, Bernat Vila,
José L. Barco & José I. Canudo (2013)
Discriminating between Medium-Sized Tridactyl Trackmakers: Tracking
Ornithopod Tracks in the Base of the Cretaceous (Berriasian, Spain).
PLoS ONE 8(11): e81830.


Recent work on the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition of the Iberian Range
(Spain) has opened a new window onto the interpretation of the
trackmakers of some medium-sized tridactyl tracks. The ichnotaxon
Therangospodus oncalensis has been described in the Huérteles
Formation (Berriasian) and is one of the classical tracks from the
area assigned to medium-sized theropods.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A review of the type locality of Therangospodus oncalensis
(Fuentesalvo tracksite) and other tracksites from the Huérteles
Formation (Berriasian) has yielded new information on the morphology,
gait and trackmaker identity of the aforementioned ichnospecies. The
new data suggest that the trackmaker is an ornithopod rather than a
theropod on the basis of the length/width ratio, the anterior triangle
length-width ratio, the short steps, the round to quadrangular heel
pad impression and the probable manus impressions.


T. oncalensis shows similarities with various tracks from the
Berriasian of Europe assigned to Iguanodontipus. The ichnotaxonomical
status of this ichnospecies is here considered as Iguanodontipus?
oncalensis due to the current state of knowledge of the ichnotaxonomy
of medium-sized ornithopod tracks. This reassessment of I? oncalensis
also has two significant implications for the palaeoecology of the
faunas during the deposition of the Huérteles Formation: 1- the high
number and percentage of theropod tracks would be lower than previous
papers have suggested. 2- the gregarious behaviour described in the
type locality (Fuentesalvo) would be among ornithopods instead of