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Dinosaur track preservation and microbial mats

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Hui Dai, Lida Xing, Daniel Marty, Jianping Zhang, W. Scott Persons IV,
Haiqian Hu& Fengping Wang (2015)
Microbially-induced sedimentary wrinkle structures and possible impact
of microbial mats for the enhanced preservation of dinosaur tracks
from the Lower Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation near Qijiang (Chongqing,
Cretaceous Research 53: 98–109

Recently, a paleosurface with microbially-induced sedimentary wrinkle
structures that are associated with abundant, well-preserved,
iguanodon-type, tridactyl tracks has been documented at the Lotus
tracksite near Qijiang (Chongqing, China) in fluvial deposits of the
Lower Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation. Two different wrinkle structure
types are identified and described from a macroscopic point of view
and also by applying microstructure analysis with a scanning electron
microscope (SEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and other
high-resolution instruments, that detected sheath-like and globular
organic matter and thus confirm the microbial origin of the observed
wrinkle structures. A model for the formation of the two microbial mat
induced wrinkle structure types and associated preservation of
dinosaur tracks is proposed. Finally, some human footprints were left
in comparable modern environments covered with a thin microbial mat,
and they are used as a modern analog in order to better understand the
track formation and preservation mechanisms of the dinosaur tracks of
the Lotus tracksite.