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The Transjurane Highway Dinosaur Tracksites and Their Significance and Application for Ichnological Studies of Dinosaur Palaeobiology

Falkingham, PL and Manning, PL (2010) The Transjurane Highway Dinosaur Tracksites and Their Significance and Application for Ichnological Studies of Dinosaur Palaeobiology. University of Manchester, Manchester.

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Abstract

As has been unanimously commented upon in previous expert reports (Lockley, 2009; Bates, 2010; Hutchinson, 2010; Stevens, 2010), the dinosaur tracksites of the Transjurane Highway represent an incredible scientific and cultural resource. Having been fortunate enough to spend time visiting the tracksites during September 2010, in particular the Courtedoux—Béchat Bovais and Courtedoux—Sur Combe Ronde tracksites, we were able to see firsthand the extent to which this is overwhelmingly the case.
What makes the tracksites globally unique is twofold. Firstly, it is the fossils themselves, of which the sheer number alone is of great consequence, enabling statistical studies into track variation both between and within individual trackways. Even regardless of the abundance of tracks, their preservation is also of great interest to palaeontologists and sedimentologists. Secondly, it is not only the tracks themselves that warrant such praise, but also the methods of documentation that have been carried out as part of the ongoing Palaeontology A16 Project. The methodical collection of data combining traditional ichnological techniques with modern documentation technologies such as high resolution laser scanning and photogrammetry, as well as the collection of specimens and the production of casts has lead to an ichnological research resource that is internationally unparalleled in terms of volume of data and potential accessibility of that data.
However, as noted by Hutchinson (2010), documentation, scientific research, and subsequent publication must occur together, for data collection is nothing without published scientific findings, and as expressed by Stevens (2010), the monumental task of carrying out documentation and research simultaneously demands that such work be undertaken collaboratively in order to maximise efficiency. This report aims to present possible research projects that combine the extraordinary data collected by the Palaeontology A16 Project with recent advances in virtual ichnological methods with the hope of producing high impact publications that will become not only a part of global dinosaur track research, but integral to a wide range of palaeobiological studies concerning palaeo(bio)geography, biomechanics, palaeoenvironment and substrate mechanics. It is also important to make data and results accessible, not only to other researchers who can then advance the science further, but to the public as well, in order to educate and inspire future generations of scientists.
The remainder of this report is divided into three sections. The first of these sections will outline possible research projects including hypotheses, general methodologies, and the expected time taken to complete the research. The second part will look at how the data and research can be used to both engage with the public and be made more accessible to other researchers. Finally, the third section will discuss the challenges and technical aspects of working with such a volume of digital data as has been, and is currently being, collected by the Palaeontology A16 Project.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: University of Manchester
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2015 10:28
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 13:40
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1760

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