Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Back to Grakalovac (1)

When tracks and traces are in question, best thing to do is to visit the sites more than once, preferably under different weather conditions, different time of day and different season. Especially in the case of poorly preserved and faint, barely visible tracks, the repeated visits will produce often surprising results. What's more important, the multiple observations will produce better results that are closer to the true. That said and after making new photographs, my Grakalovac (Kamenjak) giant thyreophoran is unlikely.
On this photograph taken from the official Kamenjak park site, the low sunshine implies multiple smaller prints instead of a single giant one. Yet, it is hard to determine their maker. They might be from a sauropod, like suggested in papers by Dalla Vecchia, Mezga and Bajraktarevic. Also, they might belong to a slowly moving ornithopod or a quadrupedal thyreophoran, or something entirely different. We'll probably never know for sure. The prints are rather inconsistent in shape and pace. The only thing that is certain about them is that they were made by a tetrapod. Maybe it wasn't just one animal, although, the grouping of the prints is suggesting that.

Here is my recent photograph of the "mysterious" Grakalovac prints, with my red outline interpretation/speculation. After analysing the photograph, this time it seems to me, there are a couple of small quadrupeds. Maybe the baby sauropods or really small pygmy sauropods whose tracks are mixed with the medium-sized ornithopod (green outline) who crossed this mini dinoturbation spot a bit later, when the substrate dried up a bit. But still the "ornithopod" slightly obliterated trackways left by the parallel walking "sauropods". The red arrow shows the direction of the tracks. Still, the tracks are so poorly preserved that my interpretation is highly speculative. You might have noticed that visually this mini dinoturbation suggested different direction of movement than my interpretation.

To my relief, I have found some theropod footprints close to this spot and there's no doubt about the trackmaker's foot shape and size. In the photograph below is one of the prints of the "cute" theropod with a foot 16,5 cm long (the animal was probably around 2 meters long).
The impression of the halux (toe #1) is clearly visible (forward oriented) as well as the claw prints on all the other toes.

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