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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54177. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054177. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Manus track preservation bias as a key factor for assessing trackmaker identity and quadrupedalism in basal ornithopods.

Author information

1
Grupo Aragosaurus-IUCA, Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. dcastanera@unizar.es

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2013;8(9). doi:10.1371/annotation/e0dba720-9eda-4457-ae59-24d9d96eb8c8.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Las Cerradicas site (Tithonian-Berriasian), Teruel, Spain, preserves at least seventeen dinosaur trackways, some of them formerly attributed to quadrupedal ornithopods, sauropods and theropods. The exposure of new track evidence allows a more detailed interpretation of the controversial tridactyl trackways as well as the modes of locomotion and taxonomic affinities of the trackmakers.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Detailed stratigraphic analysis reveals four different levels where footprints have been preserved in different modes. Within the tridactyl trackways, manus tracks are mainly present in a specific horizon relative to surface tracks. The presence of manus tracks is interpreted as evidence of an ornithopod trackmaker. Cross-sections produced from photogrammetric digital models show different depths of the pes and manus, suggesting covariance in loading between the forelimbs and the hindlimbs.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Several features (digital pads, length/width ratio, claw marks) of some ornithopod pes tracks from Las Cerradicas are reminiscent of theropod pedal morphology. This morphological convergence, combined with the shallow nature of the manus tracks, which reduces preservation potential, opens a new window into the interpretation of these tridactyl tracks. Thus, trackmaker assignations during the Jurassic-Cretaceous interval of purported theropod trackways may potentially represent ornithopods. Moreover, the Las Cerradicas trackways are further evidence for quadrupedalism among some basal small- to medium-sized ornithopods from this time interval.

PMID:
23349817
PMCID:
PMC3551957
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0054177
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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