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Large Ornithopod Dinosaur Tracks Ichnotaxonomic Review

Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Ignacio Díaz-Martínez, Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola, Félix Pérez-Lorente &
José Ignacio Canudo (2015)
Ichnotaxonomic Review of Large Ornithopod Dinosaur Tracks: Temporal
and Geographic Implications.
PLoS ONE 10(2): e0115477


Large ornithopod tracks are known from the Upper Jurassic to the
uppermost Cretaceous rocks of all continents but Antarctica. They
include the tracks historically called Iguanodon footprints,
iguanodontid footprints, hadrosaur/hadrosaurid footprints, and other
large ornithopod tracks that have been used to define ichnotaxa. More
than 40 ichnospecies based on large ornithopod tracks have been
defined, but the validity of many of them is questionable.

Methodology/Principal Findings

34 ichnogenera and 44 ichnospecies have been analysed in this work.
Many of them are considered to be invalid because they have been
defined on the basis of poorly preserved tracks without diagnostic
features, have an inadequate diagnosis, or are based on temporal
and/or geographical criteria. Only eight ichnospecies belonging to the
ichnogenera Caririchnium, Iguanodontipus and Hadrosauropodus are here
regarded as valid.


The monospecific ichnogenus Iguanodontipus (I. burreyi) is
characterized by a small, rounded heel and elongate, narrow digit
impressions. Its distribution is limited to the Berriasian-Valanginian
of Europe. Caririchnium consists of four ichnospecies (C. magnificum
[type ichnospecies], C. kortmeyeri, C. billsarjeanti and C. lotus)
with a large, rounded heel and short, wide digit impressions. This
ichnogenus ranges from the Berriasian-Hauterivian to the Aptian-Albian
of South America, North America, Asia and Europe. Finally,
Hadrosauropodus (three ichnospecies: H. langstoni [type ichnospecies],
H. leonardii and H. kyoungsookimi) shows a large, bilobed heel and
short, wide digit impressions. It is known from the Aptian-Albian to
the Maastrichtian of North America, Asia and Europe. The ichnofamily
Iguanodontipodidae includes large iguanodontian tracks characterized
mainly by mesaxonic, tridactyl and subsymmetrical pes tracks that are
as wide as (or wider than) long and have one pad impression in each
digit and one in the heel. Its distribution is confidently limited to
the Cretaceous of Europe, Asia, North America and South America.