I have discovered the second site containing ankylosaur tracks (dinoturbation) near Pula about a year after the first one, which is about a kilometre away. It is interesting, but this time I thought I was looking at the single theropod footprint. Yet, it didn't seem right. It didn't look like a typical theropod footprint. Nearby was the second impression, only convex (infilling). The pace angle was too wide for a theropod. I have also noticed there were in fact 5 toe impressions. The print was obviously left by a quadrupedal animal: a large ankylosaur. Later, I have discovered more foot impressions of the same animal, or the animal of the same size.
The red outline of the best preserved impressions in the ankylosaur trackway.
Another foot impression ( right hind foot - pes) of the large Sauropelta-like dinosaur on the same outcrop. This one is not part of the trackway above (red outline is my interpretation).
When I took this photograph back in 2009 it didn't tell me much. It just looked like it might have been some unidentified dinosaur trackway. Or not. My first suspect was a sauropod, of course. This morning I was browsing through my files looking for some photographs for the text I intended publishing and something caught my eye in this image. Some of the "footprints" actually looked like if they had toes. The toes were arranged pretty much in the order like in the ankylosaur feet (Sauropelta-like): I quickly added up the simple math and it dawned to me that this little dinoturbation is in fact the part of the large ankylosaur dinoturbation for which I thought had ended a few meters away.
In my red outline you can see my interpretation of some of the tracks. Yes, these ankylosaurs were gregarious and they congregated in three size-classes. There were also some medium-sized (maybe dromaeosaur-like) and some huge theropods around.
LM = left manus; LP = left pes; RP = right pes (click image to enlarge)
Here is a nice, unusual, huge iguanodontoid footprint on one of Pula's beaches. Probably the left pes, missing tip half of the toe #4 impression/cast. That's one of my latest finds. The left pes track is to the right, not visible in this photo and less preserved.
The middle toe (#3) is slightly curved towards the toe #4. That feature is consistent in most iguanodontoid tracks from Pula.
The sea is just a couple of meters away. When I get tired of rocks and tracks...
I have said it before and I am saying it now: dinosaurs are a very convincing evidence that continents were connected in the distant past (100 mya). I have found a perfect example. An akylosaur Sauropleta-like footprint shape from the New world matches almost perfectly the footprint I have found near Pula, Istria. The red outline is the Texan ankylosaur ichnospecies from the Mid-Cretaceous. I have placed it on top of the ankylosaur footprint (left pes) photo I took. It is a part of a dinoturbation with several tracks preserved. One of numerous in Pula's vicinity. I have only adjusted the size. The shape is undistorted. It appears as if the same or very similar morphotype: one from the North America and the other from Europe. The footprint is about half a meter long. It was a giant animal! But I have found even larger ankylosaur footprints measuring over 70cm in length!
The funny story behind this find was that I thought I have found a theropod trackway. Only analysing the photographs back home on my PC, it dawned to me it must have been an ankylosaur. It is the first find of this dinosaur track on the Adriatic Dinaridic Carbonate Platform (ADCP).
Continuing the new tracks discoveries in Pula. This is a titanosaur right pes print. The shape is consistent with the morphotype I have found elsewhere.
This footprint is not easy to notice, but it might be a pterosaur footprint. Notice that the water flow ripples go diagonally in the direction of the right upper corner of the photograph, while the footprint is placed vertically. The heel impression is down.
Here is another footprint I would probably assign to a pterosaur. However, this morphotype is somewhat different from the one I have seen in other places on this beach. No manus impression is preserved. One possible explanation is that it is in fact a footprint left by a plantigrade mammal.
A rather bizarre looking footprint of a theropod (left one). The middle toe looks fat and relatively long and the toe #2 left a deep impression of a relatively large claw.
Walking along the beach in Pula, yesterday (01/11/2014) I have discovered yet another trackway outcrop. The new tracks are not the first class quality , but it is obvious that it's a dinoturbation and a few tracks can be defined. Besides the omnipresent sauropods, it seems I have found yet another intriguing footprint (the second one) that might have belonged to some "Proto-megalania" (not featured in this article).
A large dinosaur trackway (iguanodontoid or ankylosaur? Possibly under tracks or shallow tracks on a dried surface). This layer is a bit higher than the one featured above (roughly half a meter), but it is the same beach/outcrop.
I have selected this track as the best preserved one from the lower layer, but that doesn't mean I am sure about the track maker. At the site I thought I was looking at the sauropod manus-pes set. Now I am more inclined towards the tyreophoran (ankylosaur?) origin. But maybe it was an ornithopod. Anyway, I need to check out this new site again.
Although, the Pogledalo track site has been described more than once, still one can find many tracks and traces the previous authors overlooked. Here is a part of the outcrop, showing multiple rock layers. The ripple marks are nicely visible in the lower half of the photo, while a theropod footprint is present in the upper half to the left side.
Some tracks from the Main Brijun island site. The left pes
(near my feet) of a large theropod (length of the footprint is about
half a meter) and the smaller probably theropod track to the right,
going in the opposite direction are clearly visible in the photograph below.
This is a piece of a Cretaceous rudist reef I have found on the dry wall somewhere near Banjole in southern Istria. There were even larger pieces of these extinct mollusks. Some big ones reminded me of the elephant tusks. They were to big for me to take them with me.
In the photograph below is another strange track from one of Pula's beaches. I am not what is it exactly. Was it a small theropod track or a sea bird footprint? It even seems to have been left by a webbed foot.
Observe the possible resemblance with the recent sea gull tracks in the cement.
"The field work in the late Albian track site of the Solaris
Campground near Cervera/Červar (Torre/Tar municipality, Istria, Croatia)
was undertaken during the years 1995-96 thanks to a grant of The
Dinosaur Society and the collaboration of the local authorities. The
field work at the site has been described in DALLA VECCHIA (1996). A
description of the site before the cleaning of the main
footprint-bearing surface and its detailed mapping and description can
be seen in DALLA VECCHIA (1994). The detailed description has been
published by DALLA VECCHIA et al. (2000)." What's interesting about the Solaris track sites is that they are represented with relatively small dinosaur tracks. Dalla Vecchia speculates that the dinosaurs were of a diminutive size due to their habitat. They lived isolated on an island, whose resources couldn't provide for the "full-size" large dinosaurs that inhabited the mainlands. On the other hand, although roughly from the same age and just some 40-50km away, dinosaur tracks from Pula beaches are of many size classes, the biggest of which are among the world record breakers. In the image below, you can see one of small theropod tracks from the Solaris beach. Red outline is my interpretation. This one wasn't described in any paper, yet.
There is probably more than one footprint in this image, but I have outlined only the best one.
Like I wrote before, sauropod tracks are the most common on Pula beaches. In the first photo is one of the outcrops-dinoturbations. The rest of the photographs feature titanosaur tracks from various places along the beaches of Pula.
The last photograph might in fact be an iguanodontoid pes footprint.
This weekend in Pula (17-19 October 2014) was a nice trip. It was warm, although, a bit too humid for my taste and the sea was still good enough (21°C) for swimming. The water was crystal clear, by the way.
Of course, I managed finding some more dinosaur tracks on the beach. Here is a decent small theropod footprint with my interpretation.
After snorkeling and enjoying the mid-October sun, the berries from the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) locally known as "planika", were a nice fresh snack. They are abundant at this tourist resort grounds. It was peaceful and quiet with only a few people on the beach and in the water. The premises of the resort Zlatne stijene are closed until the next season (2015).
The Saturday market in Pula was well stocked and visited as usually.