In Sung Paik, Hyun Joo Kim, Hoil Lee & Seongyeong Kim (2017)
A large and distinct skin impression on the cast of a sauropod dinosaur footprint from Early Cretaceous floodplain deposits, Korea.
Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 16339Â
The occurrence and features of skin impressions in a sauropod footprint, the largest (>50âcm in diameter) reported to date for this taxon, from the Lower Cretaceous Haman Formation (Albian) in Korea are described, and its preservation and paleoenvironmental implications are interpreted. The skin impression-bearing deposits are floodplain sediments formed by sheetflood processes. The large impression is preserved in silty mudstone with microbial lenses and wisps overlying a planar- to cross-laminated and fine-grained sandstone to siltstone bed. The paleoenvironment of the skin impression-bearing deposits is interpreted as a saline sandflat to mudflat where microbial mats can form around lakes or ponds under semi-arid paleoclimatic conditions with alternating wetting and drying intervals. These paleoenvironmental conditions would have permitted the distinct preservation of skin impressions in a dinosaur footprint. The observations here suggest that some sauropod dinosaurs in the Cretaceous had a well-developed polygonal skin texture covering nearly the whole of their foot pads, as seen in modern elephants, which would increase stability when walking on muddy and wet ground.