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Manus dominated pterosaur track assemblage from Gansu, China

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Daqing Li, Lida Xing, Martin G. Lockley, Laura Piñuela, Jianping
Zhang, Hui Dai, Jeong Yul Kim, W. Scott Persons IV & Delai Kong (2015)
A manus dominated pterosaur track assemblage from Gansu, China:
implications for behavior.
Science Bulletin (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s11434-014-0681-z

The Yangouxia dinosaur tracksites are well known for a diverse
assemblage of tetrapod tracks preserved as natural impressions
(concave epireliefs) on large bedding planes, representing a locally
widespread surface marking the transition from a sand- to a
mud-dominated sequence in the Hekou Group. Previous ichnological
studies at these large sites have focused on the morphology and
ichnotaxonomy of the tracks, including a single trackway representing
the first pterosaur tracks reported from China. Here, we report a
distinctly different assemblage associated with minor sandstones in
the mud-dominated sequence 20 m above the main tracksite level. This
assemblage consists of at least 20 pterosaur manus track casts
attributed to a single ichnotaxon (Pteraichnus). No pes tracks have
been identified. These tracks mostly occur in random orientations,
although one possible trackway segment is inferred, to represent
walking progression. Manus-only pterosaur track assemblages are common
and likely reflect differential registration depths of manus and pes
and/or sub optimal preservation conditions. The tracks are associated
with distinctive invertebrate traces including Cochlichnus,
Spongeliomorpha and Paleophycus and suggest the pterosaurs were likely
feeding on the invertebrate tracemakers.


NOTE: This paper will be open access on the Chinese Science Bulletin
website when the paper is officially published.