Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 58, Issue 19, pp 2370–2378 | Cite as

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

  • LiDa XingEmail author
  • Martin G. Lockley
  • JianPing Zhang
  • Andrew R. C. Milner
  • Hendrik Klein
  • DaQing Li
  • W. Scott PersonsIV
  • JieFang Ebi
Open Access
Article Geology


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 tracks sauropod tracks ornithopod tracks Feitianshan Formation Early Cretaceous 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • LiDa Xing
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Martin G. Lockley
    • 3
  • JianPing Zhang
    • 1
  • Andrew R. C. Milner
    • 4
  • Hendrik Klein
    • 5
  • DaQing Li
    • 6
  • W. Scott PersonsIV
    • 2
  • JieFang Ebi
    • 7
  1. 1.School of the Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Dinosaur Tracks MuseumUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  4. 4.St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson FarmSt. GeorgeUSA
  5. 5.Saurierwelt Paläontologisches MuseumNeumarktGermany
  6. 6.Geological Museum of GansuLanzhouChina
  7. 7.Zhaojue County Bureau of Culture, Multimedia, Press & Sport TourismZhaojueChina

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