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

Abstract

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.

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Xing, L., Lockley, M.G., Zhang, J. et al. A new early cretaceous dinosaur track assemblage and the first definite non-avian theropod swim trackway from China. Chin. Sci. Bull. 58, 2370–2378 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-013-5802-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-013-5802-6

Keywords

  • theropod swim tracks
  • sauropod tracks
  • ornithopod tracks
  • Feitianshan Formation
  • Early Cretaceous