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Unusual deinonychosaurian track morphology from Lower Cretaceous of China

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Li-Da Xing, Martin G. Lockley, Geng Yang, Xing Xu, Jun Cao, Hendrik
Klein, W. Scott Persons Iv, Hong-Jiang Shen & Xiao-Min Zheng (2015)
Unusual deinonychosaurian track morphology (Velociraptorichnus zhangi
n. ichnosp.) from the Lower Cretaceous Xiaoba Formation, Sichuan
Province, China.
Palaeoworld (advance online publication)

A new Lower Cretaceous dinosaur footprint locality named the Mujiaowu
tracksite in the Xiaoba Formation, Sichuan Province, has yielded a new
assemblage containing the didactyl deinonychosaurian ichnogenus
Velociraptorichnus. This is the eleventh report in the global record,
the seventh from Asia and the fifth from China. All, except for an
isolated report from Europe, occur in Lower Cretaceous deposits.
Unlike previous reports of the ichnogenus, the Mujiaowu site has
yielded both didactyl Velociraptorichnus tracks and tridactyl tracks
which we interpret as a different expression of this same ichnogenus,
caused by registration of digit II, either due to special substrate
conditions or to less claw retraction. These tridactyl
Velociraptorichnus footprints are assigned to the new ichnospecies
Velociraptorichnus zhangi. Such tridactyl deinonychosaurid footprint
morphology is predictable, but based on current ichnological evidence
appears to be the exception rather than the rule.