Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An Istrian theropod tracksite destruction in 2012

In the photograph below is a small theropod trackway consisting of four footprints with seemingly rather long heel impression or drag mark (or both). The dinoturbated site is Lovrečica, Istria, Croatia, of the upper Cenomanian age (late Cretaceous). The best preserved footprint #3 shows some considerable damage (the displacement rims are broken off) left by the bulldozer which was working on nearby road construction. Some other tracks at the site were damaged to the even greater extent  and some track baring rocks are missing. The event raised a lot of dust in the daily newspapers in 2012, claiming that some of the tracks were stolen. In my opinion this is a clear case of irresponsibility and negligence towards the geological and natural heritage, by the local construction work investor and the contractor. The local community is to be blamed for not protecting its main natural history attraction. Unfortunately, the damage is irreversible, like usually in such occasions.
The footprints in the photo are about 23-28 cm long (give or take the "heel"). The animal was probably some 3 to 3,5 meters long. The prints marked with the question marks in the diagram are rather speculative.

Some of the sensationalist headlines  in the Croatian media, regarding the tracksite destruction:
Dinosaur tracks stolen with a bulldozer
Dinosaur tracks stolen in Istria using a bulldozer 

The paper where some of the Lovrecica tracks were described in 1998:

In the comparative drawing above are some of the footprints from the Lovrečica outcrop (the scale bar is 10 cm): the middle one is redrawn from Fabio's paper; the right one is from my photograph in this post.

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