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Theropod, ornithopod, and avian tracks from British Columbia

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Richard T. McCrea, Lisa G. Buckley, A. Guy Plint, Martin G. Lockley,
Neffra A. Matthews, Tommy A. Noble, Lida Xing & Jessica R. Krawetz
Vertebrate ichnites from the Boulder Creek Formation (Lower
Cretaceous: middle to ?upper Albian) of northeastern British Columbia,
with a description of a new avian ichnotaxon, Paxavipes babcockensis
ichnogen. et isp. nov.
Cretaceous Research 55: 1–18

This is the first detailed report of vertebrate tracks from alluvial
plain deposits of the Boulder Creek Formation (Lower Cretaceous:
middle to ?upper Albian) from outcrop exposures in northeastern
British Columbia. Several in situ dinosaur tracks observed in vertical
section are described, as well as the recovery and description of an
isolated track slab discovered in the Boulder Gardens recreation area
south of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. The vertebrate ichnites
consist of three small tridactyl theropod dinosaur prints, one
tetradactyl ornithopod print, and 72 small tridactyl tracks of avian
affinity which are described as a new ichnotaxon herein. The avian
prints are small (under 30 mm length) and are characterised by a large
divarication between digits II and III and comparatively lesser
divarication between digits III and IV. The pace and stride are short
and the pace angulation is high. The tracks are similar to those
produced by extant shorebirds and the track-maker likely occupied a
similar niche. The avian prints are described herein as a new
ichnotaxon, Paxavipes babcockensis ichnogen. et isp. nov. Two of the
theropod footprints are identified as Irenichnites gracilis, an
ichnotaxon described in 1932 by C.M. Sternberg from the Lower
Cretaceous (Aptian) Gething Formation near Hudson's Hope, British
Columbia. One of the Irenichnites gracilis prints displays skin
impressions associated with the digital pads of digit III and the
metatarsal pad. This is the first record of skin impressions from
prints of Irenichnites gracilis. The ornithopod track is partial and
unidentifiable to a particular ichnotaxon, but displays skin
impressions on the metatarsal pad and at the base of the second digit
impression. The skin impressions from the ornithopod track differ from
the Irenichnites gracilis skin impressions.