Lida Xing, Daniel Marty, Hailu You, Daqing Li, Hendrik Klein & Dirk Knaust (2016)
Complex In-Substrate Dinosaur (Sauropoda, Ornithopoda) Foot Pathways Revealed by Deep Natural Track Casts from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou and Zhonggou Formations, Gansu Province, China.
Ichnos (advance online publication)
Several new Early Cretaceous tracksites from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation of Gansu Province (China) with tracks of large sauropods and ornithopods are described. Previously reported bird tracks were missing due to human negligence. The studied specimens are preserved as impressions and shallow and deep natural track casts. These dinosaur tracks are first reported from the Jiuquan area in the Changma Basin, matching well with the skeletal record of diverse non-avian dinosaur-bird faunas of this region. Moreover, they add new data to the dinosaur ichnofaunas of the Lanzhou-Minhe Basin (Gansu Province) and indicate a wide distribution of dinosaur-bird assemblages in the Early Cretaceous. Regarding morphology, sauropod, and ornithopod tracks from the Lanzhou-Minhe Basin and the Jiuquan area are very similar to each other. Titanosauriform trackmakers are assumed for the sauropod tracks and possibly iguanodontids have left the large, tridactyl ornithopod tracks. Of particular interest are well-preserved, deep natural track casts of large ornithopods and sauropods preserving ridges and grooves as well as striation marks on the lateral sides of the casts that allow the reconstruction of complex pathways of the foot within the substrate. One particular sauropod pes–manus track cast even indicates lateral and vertical sliding within the sediment because of the presence of “double impressions of digits” on the bottom.