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A new solution to an old riddle: elongate dinosaur tracks explained as deep penetration of the foot, not plantigrade locomotion

Lallensack, JN, Farlow, JO and Falkingham, PL (2021) A new solution to an old riddle: elongate dinosaur tracks explained as deep penetration of the foot, not plantigrade locomotion. Palaeontology. ISSN 0031-0239

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Abstract

The dinosaur track record features numerous examples of trackways with elongated metatarsal marks. Such ‘elongate tracks’ are often highly variable and characterized by indistinct outlines and abbreviated or missing digit impressions. Elongate dinosaur tracks are well-known from the Paluxy River bed of Texas, where some have been interpreted as ‘man tracks’ by creationists due to their superficially human-like appearance. The horizontal orientation of the metatarsal marks led to the now widely accepted idea of a facultative plantigrade, or ‘flat-footed’, mode of locomotion in a variety of dinosaurian trackmakers small to large. This hypothesis, however, is at odds with the observation that elongate tracks do not indicate reduced locomotion speeds and increased pace angulation values, but instead are correlated with low anatomical fidelity. We here interpret elongate tracks as deep penetrations of the foot in soft sediment. Sediment may collapse above parts of the descending foot, leaving a shallow surface track that preserves a metatarsal mark. The length of a metatarsal mark is determined by multiple factors and is not necessarily correlated with the length of the metatarsus. Other types of posterior marks in dinosaur footprints, such as drag and slip marks, are reviewed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: A new solution to an old riddle: elongate dinosaur tracks explained as deep penetration of the foot, not plantigrade locomotion. Palaeontology, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12584. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.")Lallensack, J.N., Farlow, J.O. and Falkingham, P.L. (2021),
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0403 Geology, 0602 Ecology, 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QE Geology > QE701 Paleontology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 12:41
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 12:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/pala.12584
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15899

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