The Lark Quarry located near the city of Winton in Queensland (Australia) is the website of one of the most crucial collection of dinosaur tracks discovered to date. When these tracks were first studied by Dr. Tony Thulborn and his colleague Mary Wade and their work published in 1984, the footprints caused a sensation as the different trackways were interpreted as herd of smaller Ornithopod dinosaurs in the organization of some Coelurosaurs stampeding after these were cornered by a lumbering giant Theropod dinosaur.

Important Trace Fossil Site in Australia

Ichnologists (scientists who study trace fossils, especially footprints), assigned the name Wintonopus to the little, Ornithopods, Skartopus to the larger Coelurosaurs and the eleven prints believed to explain the large, predatory Theropod attempting the ambush were assigned to Tyrannosauropus. However, a brand new paper published in the academic publication “The Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology” interprets the tracks really different way. Lead author, Queensland palaeontologist Anthony Romilio presents evidence to suggest that these footprints are not evidence of a dinosaur ambush with a resulting stampede however the tracks made by dinosaurs while they forded a river. Rather than “Walking with Dinosaurs”, this new research suggests a scenario of “Swimming or even Wading with Dinosaurs”!

Cretaceous Dinosaur Trackways

The footprints are believed up to now from around 95 million years ago approximately (Albian to Cenomanian faunal stages), the strata that the footprints were discovered in does represent fluvial deposits (river sediments), however, this new interpretation proposes that the tracks were made by dinosaurs whilst in the water and not on the river bank. Walking along a river bed, especially one where in actuality the water may have been a maximum of forty centimetres deep could have made sense if the banks were heavily vegetated, progress through dense scrub and forests could have been much slower if the dinosaurs had chosen a land route.

The Queensland palaeontologist stated that many of the footprints and impressions made by the dinosaurs were simply scratches or elongated grooves preserved in the rock. These might be interpretated as marks made by the dinosaurs while they punted or waded across the river bed. what dinosaur has 500 teeth A number of the more unusual tracks could represent “tippy-toe” traces, where an animal made deep, nearly vertical impressions to the soft river bed having its clawed toes while they propelled themselves through the body of water.

In the paper, the scientist argues that it’s difficult to see how a tracks could have been made by an animal walking or running on land, even one panicked by an ambush from the predator. If the tracks had been made on land the impressions made could have been much flatter.

Not the First Example of a Swimming Dinosaur Found to Date

Fossilised footprints of a swimming dinosaur have now been within the past. There’s a critical single dinosaur trackway discovered in Spain that seems to show a tri-dactyl, Theropod dinosaur touching the underside of a river occasionally since it swam across it. The sediments preserve the claw marks and impressions made by the dinosaur at it touched the lake bed and pushed itself off again to keep its journey.

Very Important Scientific Site in Queensland

The Lark Quarry site represents one of the most crucial sets of dinosaur footprints known to science. More than 3,000 individual prints have now been identified so far. Numerous the tracks, like the “dinosaur stampede/river crossing site” are on public display.

Modern Technology Used to Assess Ancient Trackways

Using three-dimensional footprint mapping techniques, the University of Queensland scientist has recently provided several new insights to the dinosaur tracks of Lark Quarry. In 2010, Anthony Romilio published a scientific paper that suggested that the footprints assigned to the meat-eater Tyrannosauropus were actually made by a big, herbivorous Ornithopod, a dinosaur just like Muttaburrasaurus for example.

Commenting on the newly published research and reflecting on the sooner work suggesting that the large dinosaur tracks weren’t made by a predator, Anthony stated that taken completely, the research suggested that the Lark Quarry sediments did not portray a dinosaur stampede.

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