The Lark Quarry located near the town of Winton in Queensland (Australia) is the website of certainly one of the most important number of dinosaur tracks discovered to date. When these tracks were first studied by Dr. Tony Thulborn and his colleague Mary Wade and their work published in 1984, the footprints caused a sensation as the many trackways were interpreted as herd of smaller Ornithopod dinosaurs in the organization of some Coelurosaurs stampeding after they were cornered with a lumbering giant Theropod dinosaur.
Important Trace Fossil Site in Australia
Ichnologists (scientists who study trace fossils, especially footprints), assigned the name Wintonopus to the little, Ornithopods, Skartopus to the bigger Coelurosaurs and the eleven prints believed to describe the large, predatory Theropod attempting the ambush were assigned to Tyrannosauropus. However, a new paper published in the academic publication “The Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology” interprets the tracks in a very different way. Lead author, Queensland palaeontologist Anthony Romilio presents evidence to suggest why these footprints are not evidence of a dinosaur ambush with a resulting stampede nevertheless the tracks made by dinosaurs because they forded a river. Instead of “Walking with Dinosaurs”, this new research suggests a situation of “Swimming as well as Wading with Dinosaurs”!
Cretaceous Dinosaur Trackways
The footprints are believed up to now from around 95 million years ago approximately (Albian to Cenomanian faunal stages), the strata that the footprints were discovered in does represent fluvial deposits (river sediments), however, this new interpretation proposes that the tracks were made by dinosaurs whilst in the water and not on the river bank. Walking along a river bed, especially one where in fact the water could have been only forty centimetres deep would have made sense if the banks were heavily vegetated, progress through dense scrub and forests could have been much slower if the dinosaurs had chosen a land route.
The Queensland palaeontologist stated that lots of the footprints and impressions made by the dinosaurs were simply scratches or elongated grooves preserved in the rock. These could be interpretated as marks made by the dinosaurs because they punted or waded along the river bed. what dinosaur has 500 teeth A number of the more unusual tracks could represent “tippy-toe” traces, where an animal made deep, nearly vertical impressions to the soft river bed with its clawed toes because they propelled themselves through your body of water.
In the paper, the scientist argues that it is difficult to see how a tracks might have been made by an animal walking or running on land, even one panicked by an ambush from a predator. If the tracks had been made on land the impressions made could have been much flatter.
Not the First Exemplory instance of a Swimming Dinosaur Found to Date
Fossilised footprints of a swimming dinosaur have been found in the past. There is a very important single dinosaur trackway discovered in Spain that seems to show a tri-dactyl, Theropod dinosaur touching underneath of a lake occasionally as it swam across it. The sediments preserve the claw marks and impressions made by the dinosaur at it touched the lake bed and pushed itself off again to continue its journey.
Very Important Scientific Site in Queensland
The Lark Quarry site represents certainly one of the most important sets of dinosaur footprints proven to science. More than 3,000 individual prints have been identified so far. Several the tracks, such as the “dinosaur stampede/river crossing site” are on public display.
Modern Technology Used to Assess Ancient Trackways
Using three-dimensional footprint mapping techniques, the University of Queensland scientist has provided a number of new insights to the dinosaur tracks of Lark Quarry. In 2010, Anthony Romilio published a scientific paper that suggested that the footprints assigned to the meat-eater Tyrannosauropus were actually made by a sizable, herbivorous Ornithopod, a dinosaur much like Muttaburrasaurus for example.
Commenting on the newly published research and reflecting on the sooner work suggesting that the large dinosaur tracks weren’t made by a predator, Anthony stated that taken altogether, the research suggested that the Lark Quarry sediments didn’t portray a dinosaur stampede.
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