The Lark Quarry located near the town of Winton in Queensland (Australia) is the website of one of the most crucial assortment 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 many trackways were interpreted as herd of smaller Ornithopod dinosaurs in the organization of some Coelurosaurs stampeding after these were cornered by way of 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 tiny, Ornithopods, Skartopus to the larger Coelurosaurs and the eleven prints believed to describe the large, predatory Theropod attempting the ambush were assigned to Tyrannosauropus. However, a fresh 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 why these footprints aren’t evidence of a dinosaur ambush with a resulting stampede however the tracks created by dinosaurs as they forded a river. Rather than “Walking with Dinosaurs”, this new research suggests a situation of “Swimming or even Wading with Dinosaurs”!

Cretaceous Dinosaur Trackways

The footprints are believed to date from around 95 million years back 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 created by dinosaurs whilst in the water and not on the river bank. Walking along a river bed, especially one where the water may have been only forty centimetres deep would have made sense if the banks were heavily vegetated, progress through dense scrub and forests would have been much slower if the dinosaurs had chosen a land route.

The Queensland palaeontologist stated that many of the footprints and impressions created by the dinosaurs were nothing more than scratches or elongated grooves preserved in the rock. These could be interpretated as marks created by the dinosaurs as they punted or waded along the river bed. what dinosaur has 500 teeth Some of the more unusual tracks could represent “tippy-toe” traces, where an animal made deep, nearly vertical impressions to the soft river bed using its clawed toes as they propelled themselves through your body of water.

In the paper, the scientist argues it is difficult to see the way the tracks may have been created by an animal walking or running on land, even one panicked by an ambush from a predator. If the tracks have been made on land the impressions made would have been much flatter.

Not the First Example of a Swimming Dinosaur Found to Date

Fossilised footprints of a swimming dinosaur have now been found in the past. There’s a very important single dinosaur trackway discovered in Spain that seems to exhibit a tri-dactyl, Theropod dinosaur touching the underside of a river occasionally as it swam across it. The sediments preserve the claw marks and impressions created 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. A lot more than 3,000 individual prints have now been identified so far. Numerous the tracks, including 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 numerous 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 created by a large, herbivorous Ornithopod, a dinosaur much like Muttaburrasaurus for example.

Commenting on the newly published research and reflecting on the sooner work suggesting that the large dinosaur tracks were not created by a predator, Anthony stated that taken altogether, the study suggested that the Lark Quarry sediments did not portray a dinosaur stampede.

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