Chapter

Steps in Understanding Sauropod Biology: The Importance of Sauropod Tracks

Joanna L. Wright

in The Sauropods

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780520246232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932333 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520246232.003.0010
Steps in Understanding Sauropod Biology: The Importance of Sauropod Tracks

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This chapter reports that sauropod trackways have provided widely divergent views of sauropod habits during the history of discovery, with early tracks thought to demonstrate that sauropods spent more time wading than walking in more terrestrial settings. It addresses the history of discovery of sauropod tracks, the understanding of trackmakers, and the ichnological evidence that sauropods traveled in organized herds. The most notable predicted differences in sauropod tracks are: basal sauropods to eusauropods, where the pes should change from digitigrade to semidigitigrade with a heel pad and be toed out from the trackway axis; the transition from a crescentic to a semicircular manus, which may occur in camarasauromorphs; and the change from narrow to wide gauge trackways, which should occur in titanosauriforms. Sauropod trackways show that sauropods progressed quadrupedally with a parasagittal gait. The tracks and bone fossil records appear to sample different assemblages and reveal complementary information.

Keywords: sauropod trackways; eusauropods; titanosauriforms; manus; camarasauromorphs; parasagittal gait; bone fossil

Chapter.  14044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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