Navigation Links
How to look at dinosaur tracks

A new study appearing in the May issue of The Journal of Geology provides fascinating insight into the factors geologists must account for when examining dinosaur tracks. The authors studied a range of larger tracks from the family of dinosaurs that includes the T. Rex and the tridactyl, and provide a guide for interpreting the effects of many different types of erosion on these invaluable impressions.

“Well-preserved vertebrate tracks in the rock record can be an invaluable source of information about foot morphology, soft tissue distribution, and skin texture,?write Jesper Milàn (Geological Institute, University of Copenhagen) and David B. Loope (Department of Geosciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln). “However, in most instances, the tracks are less than perfectly preserved, and sometimes they can be barely recognizable as tracks at all.?

With this in mind, Milàn and Loope sought to describe and categorize different levels of preservation. For example, dinosaur tracks may still exist as true tracks, that is, the original prints left in the ground by the dinosaur. True tracks preserve many of the anatomical details of the foot, such as number of digits and impressions of claws.

However, the true tracks may be filled with sediment or the original tracked surface may have eroded away. In the latter case, erosion may expose prominent layers of concentric circles extending from the former location of the true track. These “undertracks?reveal the squishing and displacement of sand when the heavy dinosaur took a step.

“The tracks and undertracks of large theropods found in the [Middle Jurassic] Entrada Sandstone at the studied locality come in a wide range of morphologies, mainly as a result of present-day erosion that has exposed the track-bearing surfaces at different depths,?the researchers explain. “[They] demonstrate that great care should be taken when describing fossil footprints that have been exposed to subaerial erosion , because the shape, dimensions, and general appearance of the footprint become seriously altered by erosion.?

Geologists also must account for whether the step was taken on a sloped surface or on a horizontal surface, and whether it was taken during dry season or wet season.

For example, estimating foot length from tracks can be inaccurate without these considerations ?the more erosion that has occurred, the larger the apparent dimensions of the track. Applications of this apparently larger foot size derived from an undertrack may lead to calculations of higher estimated hip length, and, as the authors point out, may also lead to slower speed estimates.
'"/>

Source:University of Chicago Press Journals


Related biology news :

1. Revueltosaurus skeleton unearthed at Petrified Forest upsets dinosaur tale
2. Study: Predatory dinosaurs had bird-like pulmonary system
3. Skull study sheds light on dinosaur diversity
4. U. of Colorado researcher identifies tracks of swimming dinosaur in Wyoming
5. Newly discovered birdlike dinosaur is oldest raptor ever found in South America
6. Did feathered dinosaurs exist?
7. Fossil find: Godzilla crocodile had head of a dinosaur, fins like a fish
8. Next good dinosaur news likely to come from small packages
9. The worlds deepest dinosaur finding - 2256 metres below the seabed
10. FSU biologist says new dinosaur is oldest cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex
11. Insect predation sheds light on food web recovery after the dinosaur extinction

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   ... management and verification solutions, has partnered with ... software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks ... provides products that add functional enhancements to ... provides corporations and venues with an automated ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 2016 The global ... reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according to ... Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial buildings, ... drive the market growth.      (Logo: ... development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric authentication ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... -- Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) ... Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into SACU,s ... in greater convenience for SACU members and operational ... document workflow and compliance requirements. Logo ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... IL (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... to congratulate long-term client Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance ... cleared a significant hurdle in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 The immunohistochemistry ... growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period of ... and diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry ... ... on global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 The global Pyrogen Testing ... a dominant share in the overall market. The leading ... and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s share of 51% ... observes that these companies are expected to retain their ... are do not require rabbit pyrogen testing along with ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health Inc ., the leading supplier ... one of the top 100 companies in the 2016 ... distinguishes the top digital health companies across the globe. ... this year continually upgrading our product with the ongoing ... team," says Len Grenier , CEO of Equicare ...
Breaking Biology Technology: