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Sauropod tracks in Brazil being eroded by hydroelectric project



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

S.D.E. Valais , C.R. Candeiro, L.F. Tavares, Y.M. Alves & C. Cruvinel (2014)
Current situation of the ichnological locality of São Domingos from
the Corda Formation (Lower Cretaceous), northern Tocantins state,
Brazil.
Journal of South American Earth Sciences (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2014.09.023
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0895981114001357


Highlights

The São Domingos site are being eroded by the Hydroelectric Power
Plant do Estreito.
São Domingos tracks are related to basal sauropod or macronarians, or
diplodocoids.
The trackways are considered into the Parabrontopodus-like category.
These tracks are the only vertebrate record from the Early Cretaceous
Corda Formation.

Abstract

In the 80´s, Leonardi treated the presence of a vertebrate
ichnological locality from the Barremian Corda Formation, Parnaíba
Basin, on the left bank of the Tocantins river, near of the São
Domingos town, Itaguatins, State of Tocantins, Brazil. Originally, the
record was composed of at least seven in situ trackways, accounting
for fifty six tracks. Since 2011, the Hydroelectric Power Plant do
Estreito has begun to work, causing the development of a water
reservoir 160 km upstream to the ichnological site, causing periodic
and highly energetic floods over the footprints-bearing level and
altering it. The imprints are poorly to moderate preserved, but it is
possible to distinguish the general morphology and the spatial
arrangement of the footprints. The specimens are represented by pes
imprints, mostly circular to subcircular, with no digital and claw
impressions. No distinguishable manus imprints are present. The
trackways are relative narrow with respect to the size of the tracks,
so they are considered into the Parabrontopodus-like category. The São
Domingos tracks have been originally assigned to iguanodontid
dinosaurs, and posteriorly related to a sauropodian origin. This idea
is herein accepted, particularly to a basal sauropod, basal
macronarians, or diplodocoids. Up to date, the tracks from the São
Domingos locality are the only vertebrate fossil record from the Corda
Formation, meaning an important contribution to the Cretaceous
ichnofauna from South America.