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Largest dinosaur tracksite in China

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Martin G. Lockley, Rihui Li, Masaki Matsukawa, Lida Xing, Jianjun Li,
Mingwei Liu, Xing Xu (2015)
Tracking the yellow dragons: implications of China’s largest dinosaur
tracksite (Cretaceous of the Zhucheng area, Shandong Province, China).
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advane online publication)


The largest mapped dinosaur tracksite in China
Five trackway morphotypes, most with exquisite preservation
Shore line micro paleogeography mapped in fine detail.
Unique track superimposition patterns identified and explained.


Surfaces with more than 2200 dinosaur footprints from the Huanglonggou
(yellow dragon valley) site near Zhucheng, in Shandong Province, were
excavated for scientific study and with a view to future development
as an educational site suitable for further research and tourism.
Although geographically close to spectacular and historically famous
Upper Cretaceous sites yielding vast bone assemblages, representing
giant hadrosaurs and other dinosaurs from the Wangshi Group, the
tracksite is in the Lower Cretaceous Yangjiazhuang Formation
(equivalent in part to the Longwangzhuang Formation), represents an
entirely different dinosaurian fauna, dominated by small theropods. In
contrast to a recent pre-excavation study of a localized outcrop which
identified only three theropod track morphotypes, in a sample of 135
tracks, the present study has identified at least 2000 additional
tracks including those of sauropods and turtles. It is therefore
possible to present a more complete interpretation of the site based
on the larger and more diverse track assemblage presently exposed.
Three theropod track morphotypes are identified as grallatorid
morphotypes A and B, with the latter assigned to Grallator yangi comb
nov., and Corpulentapus lilasia. Tracks have been identified from at
least 5 levels, of which level 4 exhibits the vast majority in an
excellent state of preservation. Other recent studies, which we
re-evaluate, suggest the tracks help define a ENE-WSW shoreline with
the lake center to the SSE. In terms of number of tracks documented
the Huanglonggou site is one of the largest dinosaur in China, or
indeed in the world.