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Keywords:

  • Lake Sediments;
  • Late Triassic;
  • Theropod Tracks;
  • Undertracks;
  • Walking Dynamics

Tracks and trackways of theropod dinosaurs (Grallator footprints) are abundant in the Late Triassic lake sediments of East Greenland. For this study we selected a rather diffuse theropod track preserved on the upper surface of a red heterolithic mudrock, and a better preserved track seen on the upper surface of a greyish mudrock. In order to examine undertracks and other subsurface deformation structures, both slabs were sectioned vertically at closely-spaced intervals, perpendicular to the length of the axis of the impression of digit III. Each section was subsequently polished and internal structures revealed. The digit impressions of both tracks were associated with well-defined undertracks which were cut by deep and narrow claw imprints at the distal end of the digit impressions. Marginal ridges at the tracking surfaces were typically associated with subsurface marginal folds. The marginal ridges were asymmetrically developed suggesting an outward movement of the proximal part of the foot, probably during the kick-off; this is in contrast to what is observed in tracks from Lower Jurassic theropods. The study shows that cross-sections through dinosaur tracks display large structural variation and it is suggested that some disturbed layers in continental deposits could be the result of trampling by vertebrates.