Saturday, 26 April 2014

Albian sauropods and maybe even stegosaurs (1)

The late Albian sediments in Pula have many sauropod footprints preserved. Below are a couple of examples from different parts of the beach. These tracks are a few kilometers apart and yet they are roughly the same size and of similar shape. What is bugging me, however, is a possibility that these might be a thyreophoran instead of sauropod. While I have found quite a few thyreophoran-ankylosaur tracks in Pula (see my previous posts), these may have belonged to a stegosaur (Deltapodus ichnospecies). This is a pure speculation, because only a few questionable remains of stegosaurs originate from the mid-Cretaceous. By that time, it seems that stegosaurs mostly went extinct as a group. One of the last surviving genera was the Chinese Wuerhosaurus. It doesn't mean that there is no chance some later surviving one might be discovered in the years to come. The print in the bottom photograph is 62 cm long.

Here are some examples of the ichnospecies Deltapodus brodricki, some having manus print preserved and some not (from Whyte and Romano 2001).

In the photograph below is the stegosaur pes track (natural cast) from the Upper Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) from Colunga (Asturias, North Spain), that is housed in the Jurassic Museum of Asturias (Museo del Jur├ísico de Asturias (MUJA)). Print has three short, blunt and digits forward orientated. It was  assigned this and other similar footprints to Deltapodus.
Size: 55 cm in length and 43 cm in width. It represents the largest stegosaur print discovered so far.

There were also huge sauropod tracks found in Asturias. Some measuring 110 cm in lenght. Some of the sauropod prints from Pula are even larger. I have measured the pes print that was 138 cm long (see my previous posts).

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