Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Giant sauropod track and a mysterious impression

I have found this giant sauropod track (manus-pes set) in Pula. Pes is about 115 cm long. That was one very large titanosaur. The manus impression has infilling of the typical crescent shape. The sauropod tracks are not rare in these Early Cretaceous rocks, but something else caught my eye. It's a mysterious impression on the right. At first I thought it was a theropod track.


It appears to be from the right foot of a theropod. But is it so? On the second look it seems there are at least 4 long toes curving slightly to the left and the "heel" looks atypically broad for theropods. Now I am thinking in the direction of a very large crock or even a varanid lizard. If this was left by the lizard, it was about the size of Megalania. This is the second print of the kind I have found on Pula beaches.



Monday, 29 September 2014

Past and present

I have been drawing and painting dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals for more than 3 decades.
This is a portrait of Pachyrhinosaurus I have done in gouache and watercolour pencils in 1990.



Here is the recently discovered and described ankylosaur Ziapelta quick drawing, rendered a bit in Photoshop. In today's demanding market the speed is essential.







Friday, 26 September 2014

Searching for tracks in Pula

A 100 million years old ripple marks on one of Pula beaches. I have seen the same pattern and size of ripples in the sand some 1,5 meters under the water while snorkeling.


A large (42 cm long) theropod footprint (Pula, Late Albian). It's situated at the "Ankylosaur dinoturbation" outcrop.


A small crocodilian trackway with some territorial scratch marks (on the right). Late Albian of Pula. Some sauropod, theropod and possibly pterosaur tracks are near by.





Thursday, 25 September 2014

A lesson in ichnology: the modern fossil tracks


(click image to enlarge)

There are some nice unexpected opportunities for observing how the living animals leave their permanent tracks in the cement surfaces and thus comparing them with the fossil tracks left in the mud or wet sand that turned into the solid rock over the period of millions of years.

I took the photograph above at the British square (Britanski trg), that serves as a farmers' market place and a flea market (on Sundays) in Zagreb. The maintenance workers patched the cracks in the square with about a square meter of cement. Until the wet cement dried up, and hardened, several pigeons left their tracks on the surface making it a "modern fossil stomping ground" or a bio turbation. A keen observer will notice the cat trackways in the middle.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Another published article

I have received a copy of the "Življenje in tehnika", a Slovenian popular science magazine. The history of my published articles in "ŽIT" goes back to 1990. They have been publishing one or two of my articles every year since then. Of course, the subject is allways paleontology. Mainly about dinosaur natural history. Below is the first page of my article: "The News from the Mesozoic" (Berislav Kržič, 9/2014)


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Not easy to explain

The majority of the tracks and traces are not well preserved and thus harder to interpret, if the interpretation is possible at all.
I have photographed something that looks like a sequence of rhytmical skratching of the shallow sea floor My first guess was: the small pterosaur swim traces (highlighted in the circles); the second guess is the water bird swim traces; the third is the trace fossils of fish fins swishing along bottom of shallow water;... or the artifact. Which one would you choose?
The age is Mid-Cretaceous (late Albian) of Pula.







Thursday, 18 September 2014

Back to tracks

This is in fact the first iguanodontoid track I have discovered in Pula (above). My interpretation on the right (the red outline). Note the size compared to my big feet (# 46). It is Late Albian - Mid-Cretceous (about 100 mya). The same rock surface is dinoturbated mostly by large iguanodontoids and sauropods. Also, it is weathered, due to the vicinity of the open sea.

A bit smaller "Iggy" track I have discovered about a kilometre further down the beach (resort in Pula)

  A nice manus pes set track of a large pterosaur I have found on the same beach as the Iggy in the top photograph. There are three pterosaur trackways on that spot.

 A dinoturbated rock. Probably by the ankylosaurs whose trackways I have found near by. (Pula - Late Albian)


A small titanosaur left pes track. It was probably a subadult. The outcrop is heavily dinoturbated by the very large sauropods, theropods and ornithopods. Late Albian of Pula.