Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Back to Kamenjak

If you don't mind the heat, the south Istrian cape (rt) Kamenjak is a nice place for trekking and observing the nature in Spring time. You may even get lucky and see the extremely rare monk seal.
It is too hot for me to walk during the Summer, but there are plenty of nice beaches to go to swimming or snorkeling. The islet Fenoliga which has numerous (although weathered) dinosaur tracks is visible in the distance, between the cape on the left and the light house (islet Porer) on the right. One can see the rudist fossils along the way.
While walking towards the tip of the cape I have noticed an interesting rock in a farm's wall (suhozid). It looks to me it might be an impression of a late Cretaceous plant. See below, far left in the photograph. I'd appreciate if any of the blog readers can help me out in identifying the fossil (or is it just an artifact?) Could it be the mid-Cretaceous angiosperm Sapindopsis angusta? In fact, it resembles some kind of psilophyte plant. The environment was supratidal-intertidal  with extensive mudflats, where dinosaurs left their tracks. There were rudist reefs and  stromatolites in the shallow sea of the lagoons.
Maybe it was some kind of an algae washed ashore (?)

A common sight at Kamenjak are sheep herds.

In some places, the path gets quite narrow because of the rich flora.

And here is the view at the Fenoliga islet. So close, but out of reach if you don't have a boat.

Fabio's paper describing the Istrian Cenomanian tracks. Kamenjak and Fenoliga sites are included.

Here are the Istrian Cenomanian theropod prints (outlines) from the paper:

A few of the footprints have a "fat" middle toe (toe # 3) padding. Below is the photo and my footprint interpretation of another theropod track from Kamenjak's outcrop just across the Fenoliga islet. There are at least two more prints of the same dinosaur at the site. None of the images above fit to that morphotype. The foot is about 34-38 cm long. I am not sure about the heel: is it all heel or also a drag mark?

Notice the unusual shape of toe #4. At first I had thought it was a substrate deformation due to the footprint pressure, or some sort of a drag mark, but than I saw the other prints had the same feature. Maybe it's not a theropod at all. Maybe it's an ornithopod track.

After all, the emerald sea looks inviting!

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