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Dinosaur track shape variations due to substrate consistency

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Novella L. Razzolini,  Bernat Vila, Diego Castanera, Peter L.
Falkingham, José Luis Barco, José Ignacio Canudo, Phillip L. Manning &
Àngel Galobart (2014)
Intra-Trackway Morphological Variations Due to Substrate Consistency:
The El Frontal Dinosaur Tracksite (Lower Cretaceous, Spain).
PLoS ONE 9(4): e93708.

An ichnological and sedimentological study of the El Frontal dinosaur
tracksite (Early Cretaceous, Cameros basin, Soria, Spain) highlights
the pronounced intra-trackway variation found in track morphologies of
four theropod trackways. Photogrammetric 3D digital models revealed
various and distinct intra-trackway morphotypes, which reflect changes
in footprint parameters such as the pace length, the track length,
depth, and height of displacement rims. Sedimentological analyses
suggest that the original substrate was non-homogenous due to lateral
changes in adjoining microfacies. Multidata analyses indicate that
morphological differences in these deep and shallow tracks represent a
part of a continuum of track morphologies and geometries produced by a
gradient of substrate consistencies across the site. This implies that
the large range of track morphologies at this site resulted from
similar trackmakers crossing variable facies. The trackways at the El
Frontal site present an exemplary case of how track morphology, and
consequently potential ichnotaxa, can vary, even when produced by a
single trackmaker.