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Theropod and mammal-like tetrapod footprints in Late Triassic of Sichuan Basin, China (free pdf)



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

This paper has been available on Xing Lida's website for a time. It's
now officially published but the pdf link is not working yet from the
Vertebrata PalAsiatica site so I'm linking to his site for now.


XING Li-Da, Hendrik KLEIN, Martin G. LOCKLEY, WANG Shi-Li, CHEN Wei,
YE Yong, Masaki MATSUKAWA & ZHANG Jian-Ping (2013)
Earliest records from China of theropod and mammal-like tetrapod
footprints in the Late Triassic of Sichuan Basin.
Vertebrata PalAsiatica 51(3): 184-198
http://www.xinglida.net/pdf/Xing_et_al_2013_Theropod_and_mammal-like.pdf

Eubrontes- and Grallator-sized theropod footprints are known from two
localities in the Upper Triassic Xujiahe Formation of the Sichuan
Basin, southwest China. The larger footprints include a partial
trackway with two successive pes imprints that were named as
Pengxianpus cifengensis. Compared with robust Eubrontes, they have
slender digits, less well defined pad impressions and display a wider
digit divarication similar to the theropod ichnotaxon Kayentapus from
the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic. Presently, a synonymy of the latter
cannot be proved conclusively and the ichnotaxon is retained here. For
both footprints, some small areas preserve skin texture with polygonal
scales, the clearest preservation is in a small area on the
metatarsal-phalangeal pad IV of the second imprint. The smaller
theropod footprints are also part of an incomplete trackway. They show
a wide digit divarication similar to Kayentapus and Pengxianpus but
they are here tentatively referred to theropod footprints indet. A
peculiarity on the surface with Pengxianpus is the presence of small
pes or manus imprints that can be assigned to mammal-like tetrapods
somewhat similar to those known from Triassic-Jurassic strata of North
America and southern Africa. This is the first report of mammal-like
footprints in the Triassic of southeastern Asia.