Monday, 3 February 2014

Why is larger track harder to spot?

It is hard to believe, but people are more likely to notice the small dinosaur tracks, than the large ones. Even many professional paleontologists fall into that group. Although, it is rather ironic. Don't you think? I mean, many dinosaurs were known for their giant size. After all they were the largest terrestrial animals that ever lived. 
A few years ago, at first doubtful of my own eyes, I managed finding very large dinosaur tracks on the Istrian beach which is very busy with tourists in the Summer months.The age is Early Cretaceous, Late Albian. Before some 100 million years ago.

In the photo is a giant iguanodontoid footprint (right foot) measuring about 85-90 cm in length. This was my first find of a gigantic ornithopod track. I have never expected that I will find a couple of even much larger iguanodontoid foot impressions, in the same area, just a year later. The red outline is my interpretation of the main shape. There are several less preserved prints of the same animal around this impression. 

These are footprints from other countries for comparison:

Note the resemblance with Caririchnium sp. from the Uhangri formation (image from the Research Report on the Haenam Dinosaur Tracksite, Korea, 1998)...

...or with this footprint of Hadrosauropodus nangxiogensis (from Xing et al. 2009).

It seems, the Istrian iguanodontoid footprints show both features of an hadrosaurian track and the iguanodontian one.

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