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Tracks made by swimming Hippopotami: An example from Koobi Fora (Turkana Basin, Kenya)

Bennett, MR and Morse, SA and Falkingham, PL (2014) Tracks made by swimming Hippopotami: An example from Koobi Fora (Turkana Basin, Kenya). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 409. pp. 9-23. ISSN 0031-0182

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Abstract

Here we report an ichnological surface close to Koobi Fora, Kenya in palaeontological collecting Area 103. The surface is marked by hominin tracks, as well as many traces from large animals. A southern excavation of the surface some 70 m from the hominin tracks displays a diverse range of animal track typologies, most of which appear to have been made by a four digit animal moving via punting or bottom walking in a shallow water body. Due to the track morphology and the associated fossil record, the non-hominin tracks are interpreted as being made by hippopotami, potentially including pygmy species or juveniles. The track typologies are explained using modern analogue observations of hippopotami sub-aquatic locomotion. This work provides important environmental context for adjacent hominin tracks and fossils, as well as providing the first recorded description of fossilized swim tracks made by mammals. The site has implications for the interpretation of swim tracks in the geological record particularly the widespread and controversial tracks made by sauropods and other dinosaurs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0403 Geology, 0602 Ecology, 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2015 13:48
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015 23:50
DOI or Identification number: /10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.04.021
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1675

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