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Late Jurassic footprints reveal walking kinematics of theropod dinosaurs

Authors

  • MARCO AVANZINI,

  • LAURA PIÑUELA,

  • JOSÉ CARLOS GARCÍA-RAMOS


Marco Avanzini. [avanzini@mtsn.tn.it], Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali, Via Calepina 14, 38100 Trento, Italy; Laura Piñuela [lpinuela@geol.uniovi.es], Museo del Jurásico de Asturias (MUJA), Colunga. Asturias, España, and Departamento de Geología Universidad de Oviedo, C/Jesús Arias de Velasco, s/n 33005 Oviedo, Asturias, España; José Carlos García-Ramos [jcgramos@geol.uniovi.es], Museo del Jurásico de Asturias (MUJA), Colunga. Asturias, España, and Departamento de Geología Universidad de Oviedo, C/Jesús Arias de Velasco, s/n 33005 Oviedo, Asturias, España; manuscript received on 13/10/2010; manuscript accepted on 01/4/2011.

Abstract

Avanzini, M., Piñuela, L. & García-Ramos, J.C. 2011: Late Jurassic footprints reveal walking kinematics of theropod dinosaurs. Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 238–252.

This study describes a set of theropod footprints collected from the Late Jurassic Lastres Formation (Asturias, N Spain). The footprints are natural casts (tracks and undertracks) grouped into three morphotypes, which are characterized by different size frequency, L/W relationship and divarication angles: ‘Grallatorid’ morphotype, ‘Kayentapus–Magnoavipes’ morphotype, ‘Hispanosauropus’ morphotype. The tracks were produced in firm, stiff and soft sediments. The infills of deep tracks, which are typically formed in soft mud, lack fine anatomical details, but they can reveal the walk kinematics of the trackmaker through the morphology of internal track fills and sinking traces. In all footprints, a horizontal outwardly directed translation movement and rotation are recognizable. The amount and geometry of digit penetration in the ground also show a pronounced difference. It can be inferred from the described sample that different theropoda-related ichnogenera share common kinematics. □Asturias, dinosaur footprint, late jurassic, theropods, walking kinematics.

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