Jean-David Moreau, Emmanuel Fara, Didier Néraudeau & Georges Gand (2017)
New Hettangian tracks from the Causses Basin (Lozère, southern France) complement the poor fossil record of earliest Jurassic crocodylomorphs in Europe.
HIstorical Biology (advance online publication)
A new vertebrate ichnological assemblage is described from the Hettangian Dolomitic Formation of the Causses Basin, at Le Serre (Lozère, southern France). We report tracks that complement the poor fossil record of lowermost Jurassic crocodylomorphs in Europe. Tetradactyl pes and pentadactyl manus imprints form a unique trackway. Traces are ascribed to Batrachopus isp. and they represent the third occurrence of this ichnogenus in European Hettangian geological formations. This is the first report of Batrachopus in Hettangian deposits of the Causses Basin. The tracks share some similarities with Batrachopus deweyi previously described from the Sinemurian of the Causses Basin. Crocodylomorph tracks co-occur with tridactyl dinosaur traces assigned to Dilophosauripus williamsi and Grallator isp. The sedimentology and palaeoichnology of the tracksite indicate that the depositional environment was a tidal to supratidal flat marsh that was emerged periodically. The ichnological assemblage from Le Serre and a synthesis of ichnotaxa co-occurring with Batrachopus in the European lowermost Jurassic tracksites confirm that crocodylomorphs living in marginal-littoral palaeoenvironments were part of theropod-dominated faunas, together with ornithopods but apparently without sauropods.