, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 185–191

Behavioral and faunal implications of Early Cretaceous deinonychosaur trackways from China

  • Rihui Li
  • Martin G. Lockley
  • Peter J. Makovicky
  • Masaki Matsukawa
  • Mark A. Norell
  • Jerald D. Harris
  • Mingwei Liu
Original Paper


Deinonychosaurian theropods, the dinosaurian sister group of birds, are characterized by a large raptorial claw borne on a highly modified second digit that was thought to be held in a retracted position during locomotion. In this study, we present new trackway evidence for two coeval deinonychosaurian taxa from the Early Cretaceous of Shandong, China that indicate a hitherto unrecognized body size diversity for this period and continent. These fossil tracks confirm diversity and locomotory patterns implied by phylogeny and biogeography, but not yet manifested in the body fossil record. Multiple parallel and closely spaced trackways generated by the larger track maker provide the best evidence yet discovered for gregarious behavior in deinonychosaurian theropods.


Deinonychosaur Cretaceous Footprint Gregariousness China Locomotion 

Supplementary material (2.8 mb)
S1Supplementary Movie of 3D views of Dromaeopodus paratype: a movie providing a 3D range of views of a digital rendering of the paratype Dromaeopodus shandongensis track (CU 214.112, replica of left pes) is available with the online version of this article at: (MOV 2.84 MB)
114_2007_310_MOESM2_ESM.doc (4 kb)
S2Appendix (DOC 4.05kb)
114_2007_310_MOESM3_ESM.doc (30 kb)
S3Table of comparative limb bone measurements (DOC 30.5kb)
114_2007_310_MOESM4_ESM.doc (26 kb)
S4Supplementary References (DOC 26.0kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rihui Li
    • 1
  • Martin G. Lockley
    • 2
  • Peter J. Makovicky
    • 3
  • Masaki Matsukawa
    • 4
  • Mark A. Norell
    • 5
  • Jerald D. Harris
    • 6
  • Mingwei Liu
    • 7
  1. 1.Qingdao Institute of Marine GeologyChina Geological SurveyQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Dinosaur Tracks MuseumUniversity of Colorado at DenverDenverUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeologyField Museum of Natural HistoryChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental SciencesTokyo Gakugei UniversityKoganeiJapan
  5. 5.Department of Vertebrate PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Science DepartmentDixie State CollegeSt. GeorgeUSA
  7. 7.Fourth Geological and Mineral Resources Survey of ShandongWei-fangPeople’s Republic of China

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