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Lockley M.G.,University of Colorado at Denver | Buckley L.G.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | Foster J.R.,18 East Center St | Kirkland J.I.,Utah Geological Survey | Deblieux D.D.,Utah Geological Survey
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2015

More than 130 footprints representing ~. 43 trackways of birds (avian theropods) and two non-avian theropods occur as seven separate assemblages on loose blocks recovered from the Poison Strip Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation, near the Stikes Quarry locality in eastern Utah. Six of assemblages, four with bird tracks and two with small non avian theropod tracks, are inferred to originate from the same stratigraphic horizon, and can therefore be considered part of the same ichnofauna. The seventh assemblage comes from a different horizon a few meters above that yielding the other six assemblages. The bird tracks are all attributed to the ichnogenus Aquatilavipes, a track type morphologically similar to those of modern shorebirds. The ichnogenus is also known from broadly coeval ichnofaunas from South Dakota and Canada, and the identification is confirmed by detailed comparative analysis of available Aquatilavipes samples using bivariate and multivariate analyses. This is the first definitive report of bird tracks from the Cedar Mountain Formation and the first evidence of birds from this otherwise richly fossiliferous unit. The ichnofauna is therefore quite unique in comparison with others from this same formation. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Museum fur Naturkunde, Key Laboratory of Ecology of Rare and Endangered Species and Environmental Protection, University of Colorado at Denver, University of Alberta and 10 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

The historically-famous Lotus Fortress site, a deep 1.5-3.0-meter-high, 200-meter-long horizonal notch high up in near-vertical sandstone cliffs comprising the Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation, has been known since the 13th Century as an impregnable defensive position. The site is also extraordinary for having multiple tetrapod track-bearing levels, of which the lower two form the floor of part of the notch, and yield very well preserved asseamblages of ornithopod, bird (avian theropod) and pterosaur tracks. Trackway counts indicate that ornithopods dominate (69%) accounting for at least 165 trackmakers, followed by bird (18%), sauropod (10%), and pterosaur (3%). Previous studies designated Lotus Fortress as the type locality of Caririchnium lotus and Wupus agilis both of which are recognized here as valid ichnotaxa. On the basis of multiple parallel trackways both are interpreted as representing the trackways of gregarious species. C. lotus is redescribed here in detail and interpreted to indicate two age cohorts representing subadults that were sometimes bipedal and larger quadrupedal adults. Two other previously described dinosaurian ichnospecies, are here reinterpreted as underprints and considered nomina dubia. Like a growing number of significant tetrapod tracksites in China the Lotus Fortress site reveals new information about the composition of tetrapod faunas from formations in which the skeletal record is sparse. In particular, the site shows the relatively high abundance of Caririchium in a region where saurischian ichnofaunas are often dominant. It is also the only site known to have yielded Wupus agilis. In combination with information from other tracksites from the Jiaguan formation and other Cretaceous formations in the region, the track record is proving increasingly impotant as a major source of information on the vertebrate faunas of the region. The Lotus Fortress site has been developed as a spectacular, geologically-, paleontologically- and a culturally-significant destination within Qijiang National Geological Park.


McCrea R.T.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | McCrea R.T.,University of Alberta | Buckley L.G.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | Buckley L.G.,University of Alberta | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The skeletal record of tyrannosaurids is well-documented, whereas their footprint record is surprisingly sparse. There are only a few isolated footprints attributed to tyrannosaurids and, hitherto, no reported trackways. We report the world's first trackways attributable to tyrannosaurids, and describe a new ichnotaxon attributable to tyrannosaurids. These trackways are from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian - Maastrichtian) of northeastern British Columbia, Canada. One trackway consists of three tridactyl footprints, and two adjacent trackways consist of two footprints each. All three trackways show animals bearing southeast within an 8.5 meter-wide corridor. Similarities in depth and preservation of the tyrannosaurid tracks indicate that these three trackways were made by track-makers walking concurrently in the same direction. These trackways add significantly to previous osteology-based hypotheses of locomotion and behavior in Tyrannosauridae by providing ichnologic support for gregariousness in tyrannosaurids, and the first record of the walking gait of tyrannosaurids.


Xing L.,China University of Geosciences | Buckley L.G.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | McCrea R.T.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | Lockley M.G.,University of Colorado at Denver | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Trace fossils provide the only records of Early Cretaceous birds from many parts of the world. The identification of traces from large avian track-makers is made difficult given their overall similarity in size and tridactyly in comparison with traces of small non-avian theropods. Reanalysis of Wupus agilis from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) Jiaguan Formation, one of a small but growing number of known avian-pterosaur track assemblages, of southeast China determines that these are the traces of a large avian track-maker, analogous to extant herons. Wupus, originally identified as the trace of a small non-avian theropod track-maker, is therefore similar in both footprint and trackway characteristics to the Early Cretaceous (Albian) large avian trace Limiavipes curriei from western Canada, and Wupus is reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The reanalysis of Wupus reveals that it and Limiavipes are distinct from similar traces of small to medium-sized non-avian theropods (Irenichnites, Columbosauripus, Magnoavipes) based on their relatively large footprint length to pace length ratio and higher mean footprint splay, and that Wupus shares enough characters with Limiavipes to be reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The ability to discern traces of large avians from those of small non-avian theropods provides more data on the diversity of Early Cretaceous birds. This analysis reveals that, despite the current lack of body fossils, large wading birds were globally distributed in both Laurasia and Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous. Copyright: © 2015 Xing et al.


Xing L.,China University of Geosciences | Lockley M.G.,University of Colorado at Denver | Marty D.,Office de la culture | Klein H.,Saurierwelt Palaontologisches Museum | And 7 more authors.
Cretaceous Research | Year: 2013

New dinosaur track assemblages were discovered recently in the Tianjialou Formation of the Lower Cretaceous Dasheng Group in Shandong Province, China. Theropods are represented by the trackways of two different medium-sized groups: (1) tridactyl tracks with a typical mesaxonic shape; (2) functionally didactyl tracks attributed to deinonychosaurian theropods. The latter report, the third from the Cretaceous of Shandong Province, enlarges the global record of didactyl theropod tracks, until now sparsely documented from only a few locations in Asia, North America and Europe. A number of features in the dromaeosaur trackway suggest the assignment to cf. Dromaeosauripus. Several medium-sized trackways resemble the narrow-gauge, small manus ichnogenus Parabrontopodus, and one large trackway is characterised by a wide-gauge and large manus, similar to Brontopodus. This suggests the co-occurrence of two different sauropod groups. A further component in these ichnoassemblages is a tetradactyl morphotype and trackways of ornithischian affinity that are tentatively attributed to psittacosaurs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | University of Colorado at Denver, Saurierwelt Palaontologisches Museum, Museo del Jurasico de Asturias MUJA Jurassic Museum of Asturias, Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Trace fossils provide the only records of Early Cretaceous birds from many parts of the world. The identification of traces from large avian track-makers is made difficult given their overall similarity in size and tridactyly in comparison with traces of small non-avian theropods. Reanalysis of Wupus agilis from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) Jiaguan Formation, one of a small but growing number of known avian-pterosaur track assemblages, of southeast China determines that these are the traces of a large avian track-maker, analogous to extant herons. Wupus, originally identified as the trace of a small non-avian theropod track-maker, is therefore similar in both footprint and trackway characteristics to the Early Cretaceous (Albian) large avian trace Limiavipes curriei from western Canada, and Wupus is reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The reanalysis of Wupus reveals that it and Limiavipes are distinct from similar traces of small to medium-sized non-avian theropods (Irenichnites, Columbosauripus, Magnoavipes) based on their relatively large footprint length to pace length ratio and higher mean footprint splay, and that Wupus shares enough characters with Limiavipes to be reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The ability to discern traces of large avians from those of small non-avian theropods provides more data on the diversity of Early Cretaceous birds. This analysis reveals that, despite the current lack of body fossils, large wading birds were globally distributed in both Laurasia and Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous.


PubMed | University of Colorado at Denver, Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis, Saurierwelt Palaontologisches Museum, University of Alberta and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

New reports of dinosaur tracksites in the Tuchengzi Formation in the newly established Yanqing Global Geopark, Beijing, China, support previous inferences that the track assemblages from this formation are saurischian-dominated. More specifically, the assemblages appear theropod-dominated, with the majority of well-preserved tracks conforming to the Grallator type (sensus lato), thus representing relatively small trackmakers. Such ichnofaunas supplement the skeletal record from this unit that lacks theropods thus far, proving a larger diversity of dinosaur faunas in that region. Sauropods are represented by medium to large sized and narrow and wide-gauge groups, respectively. The latter correspond with earlier discoveries of titanosauriform skeletons in the same unit. Previous records of ornithischian tracks cannot be positively confirmed. Purported occurrences are re-evaluated here, the trackways and imprints, except of a single possible specimen, re-assigned to theropods. Palecologically the Tuchengzi ichnofauna is characteristic of semi-arid fluvio-lacustrine inland basins with Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous deposits in northern China that all show assemblages with abundant theropod and sauropod tracks and minor components of ornithopod, pterosaur and bird tracks.


Xing L.,China University of Geosciences | Xing L.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Lockley M.G.,University of Colorado at Denver | McCrea R.T.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | And 6 more authors.
Cretaceous Research | Year: 2013

Despite being widely distributed in the Middle-Late Jurassic and earliest Cretaceous of Europe and sparsely distributed in the Late Jurassic of North America, the thyreophoran ichnotaxon Deltapodus is represented largely by morphologically suboptimal material. In particular, manus tracks are poorly defined in almost all previously reported specimens, likely due to preservational factors. Nonetheless, two ichnospecies, D. brodericki and D. ibericus, have been erected based on European material. Here we report the first Chinese examples of Deltapodus from the Cretaceous of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. These specimens are also the youngest unambiguous occurrence of this ichnogenus, and the second reported occurrence from Asia. The specimens have well-defined manus traces with readily identifiable traces of digits I and II, enabling their placement in a new ichnospecies: Deltapodus curriei ichnosp. nov. Although not unequivocal in all cases, Deltapodus is likely of stegosaurian affinity, given the occurrence of stegosaurian body fossils in related deposits in Xinjiang. Deltapodus tracks are far more common and widespread than Stegopodus or Apulosauripus, the only other ichnogenera with tridactyl pes prints that have been attributed to large thyreophorans. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Buckley L.G.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center | Larson D.W.,University of Alberta | Reichel M.,University of Alberta | Samman T.,104 623 9A St. NW
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2010

Documenting variation in theropod dinosaurs is usually hindered by the lack of a large sample size and specimens representing several ontogenetic stages. Here, variation within 140 disassociated and seven in situ tyrannosaur teeth from the Upper Cretaceous (lower Maastrichtian) monodominant Albertosaurus sarcophagus (Theropoda: Tyrannosauridae) bonebed is documented. This sample represents the largest data set of teeth from one population of A. sarcophagus containing both adult and juvenile specimens. Tooth variation was assessed using multivariate analyses (principal component, discriminant, and canonical variate analyses). Heterodonty in the teeth of A. sarcophagus contributes to the large amount of variation in the data set. Premaxillary teeth are significantly different from maxillary and dentary teeth, but there is no quantifiable difference between a priori identified maxillary and dentary teeth. Juvenile and adult teeth of A. sarcophagus show apparent quantitative differences that are size dependent on closer investigation, suggesting a cautious approach when interpreting multivariate analyses to identify novel tooth morphologies. Multivariate analyses on teeth of A. sarcophagus and published tooth data from other North American tyrannosaurid species reveals species-level clusters with little separation. The degree of separation among tooth clusters may reveal a phylogenetic signal in tyrannosaurid teeth.


Richter U.,Initiative of Independent Palaeobiologists Deutschland IIPD | Mudroch A.,Initiative of Independent Palaeobiologists Deutschland IIPD | Buckley L.G.,Peace Region Palaeontology Research Center
Palaontologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2013

Thirty-seven well-preserved, isolated theropod teeth from the Early Cenomanian Kem Kem beds, Morocco, are identified by using morphometric data and direct comparison with teeth previously described in the literature. Direct comparison reveals that four different morphotypes (MT 1-4) are present in the sample. The teeth of MT 1 are characterised by unserrated carinae and belong to spinosaurid dinosaurs. The teeth of MT 2-4 have serrated carinae, and our data analysis indicates they are of carcharodontosaurid, dromaeosaurid, and abelisaurid origin. Three types of crown enamel ornamentation are present among the teeth of MT 1, which implies that, apart from Spinosaurus aegyptiacus STROMER 1915, more than one species of spinosaurine theropods may be present in the Early Cenomanian of Northern Africa. Our results also confirm the occurrence of abelisaurids, dromaeosaurids, and carcharodontosaurids in Morocco. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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