A new paper:
In the Aptian of Araripe Basin, Brazil, there are substrate deformations related to dinosaur trampling.
The dinoturbation allows the understanding of environmental changes from terrigenous to carbonate lake scenarios.
These biodeformation features are temporal markers of subaerial exposition surfaces throughout the basin.
These biogenic structures opens new perspectives for understanding ancient terrestrial ecosystems.
They are important to the reconstruction of the terrestrial Cretaceous ecosystem in the context of the Araripe Basin.
Although fossil footprints are generally recognized by morphological data from autopodia, in some cases they can also be characterized by a sequential deformation of the substrate, since the footprint reaches many sedimentary levels beyond the surface. In such cases, these features are preserved as deformation structures which can be observed in cross-sections, making it difficult to identify their genesis. Thus, they are many times interpreted as load or liquefaction structures related to compaction, tectonism or fluidization, without a direct relationship with the trampling by terrestrial vertebrates and the pressure generated during the contact between a tetrapod autopodium and the substrate, leading to the origin of load structures with successive laminae deformation.
The research on the Araripe Basin, Brazil, allowed the discovery of many structures that are related to substrate deformation after dinosaur trampling. This offers a new tool for paleoenvironmental interpretations to this region, as well as it opens new perspectives for understanding ancient terrestrial ecosystems and the origin of deformational structures. Although dinoturbation observed in cross-section is still generally scarcely documented, it enables the understanding of environmental changes from terrigenous to carbonate lake scenarios that are so peculiar in this sedimentary succession. Their regional distribution opens new possibilities to the analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of dinosaur-trampled structures.