Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 58, Issue 19, pp 2370–2378

A new early cretaceous dinosaur track assemblage and the first definite non-avian theropod swim trackway from China


    • School of the Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of Geosciences
    • Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Alberta
  • Martin G. Lockley
    • Dinosaur Tracks MuseumUniversity of Colorado Denver
  • JianPing Zhang
    • School of the Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of Geosciences
  • Andrew R. C. Milner
    • St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
  • Hendrik Klein
    • Saurierwelt Paläontologisches Museum
  • DaQing Li
    • Geological Museum of Gansu
  • W. Scott PersonsIV
    • Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Alberta
  • JieFang Ebi
    • Zhaojue County Bureau of Culture, Multimedia, Press & Sport Tourism
Open AccessArticle Geology

DOI: 10.1007/s11434-013-5802-6

Cite this article as:
Xing, L., Lockley, M.G., Zhang, J. et al. Chin. Sci. Bull. (2013) 58: 2370. doi:10.1007/s11434-013-5802-6


The trackway of a swimming theropod (ichnogenus Characichnos) is reported from the Lower Cretaceous Feitianshan Formation of Sichuan, China. These swim tracks help confirm that non-avian theropods were capable of forging moderately deep bodies of water. The trackway occurs on the same surface as a typical walking trackway of a sauropod (ichnogenus Brontopodus). Both occurrences are the first reported from the Cretaceous of Sichuan, and the swim tracks are the first well-preserved example of a Characichnos trackway from China. Additionally, a theropod walking trackway and several ornithopod walking trackways (similar to the ichnogenus Caririchnium) occur in the same horizon. The ornithopod trackways show a parallel orientation, suggesting gregarious behavior of the trackmakers, which may have been iguanodontiforms and/or hadrosauriforms. The co-occurrence of theropod swim tracks and theropod walking tracks suggests a fluctuation of water depth within a distinct time span.


theropod swim trackssauropod tracksornithopod tracksFeitianshan FormationEarly Cretaceous
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© The Author(s) 2013