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Limping ornithopod trackway from Cretaceous of Spain

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Novella L. Razzolini, Bernat Vila, Ignacio Díaz-Martínez, Phillip L.
Manning & Àngel Galobart (2016) [2015]
Pes shape variation in an ornithopod dinosaur trackway (Lower
Cretaceous, NW Spain): New evidence of an antalgic gait in the fossil
track record
Cretaceous Research 58: 125–134


We restudied an abnormal gait long ornithopod trackway through LiDAR scans.
We quantitatively analyse the degree of limping of the long ornithopod trackway.
For the first time we qualitatively described each track through 3-D models.
Data suggest pes injury to be the cause of limping.


Trackways can provide unique insight to animals locomotion through
quantitative analysis of variation in track morphology. Long trackways
additionally permit the study of trackmaker foot anatomy, providing
more insight on limb kinematics. In this paper we have restudied the
extensive tracksite at Barranco de La Canal-1 (Lower Cretaceous, La
Rioja, NW Spain) focussing on a 25-m-long dinosaur (ornithopod)
trackway that was noted by an earlier study (Casanovas et al., 1995;
Pérez-Lorente, 2003) to display an irregular pace pattern. This
asymmetric gait has been quantified and photogrammetric models
undertaken for each track, thus revealing distinct differences between
the right and the left tracks, particularly in the relative position
of the lateral digits II–IV with respect to the central digit III.
Given that the substrate at this site is homogenous, the consistent
repetition of the collected morphological data suggests that
differences recorded between the right and the left tracks can be
linked to the foot anatomy, but more interestingly, to an injury or
pathology on left digit II. We suggest that the abnormal condition
registered in digit II impression of the left pes can be linked to the
statistically significant limping behaviour of the trackmaker.
Furthermore, the abnormal condition registered did not affect the
dinosaur's speed.