Late Jurassic dinosaur footprints from Chassiron–La Morelière (Oléron Island, western France)
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A new dinosaur tracksite was recently discovered in the Upper Jurassic deposits from the Oléron Island (Atlantic Ocean, western France). Tracks are located along the coastline in the tidal area of La Morelière near “Pointe de Chassiron”. They were observed in situ in an evaporitic interval from the “Purbeck beds” Unit. Sediments consist of calcite recrystallised after gypsum dissolution within limestone layers which are composed of thin laminites. The track-bearing surface shows abundant mud cracks and some ripple marks. Ichnofossils consist of medium-sized tridactyl footprints of theropods forming a narrow trackway. In order to obtain 3D reconstructions of the track-bearing surface, the trackway was scanned with a resolution of 0.5 mm using an Artec Eva 3D white-light scanner. As indicated by the track dimensions, the probable trackmaker is assigned to a medium-sized non-coelurosaur tetanuran, such as a megalosauroid or an allosauroid theropod. The palaeoenvironmental context is interpreted as a tidal flat in an evaporitic basin. In addition to the tridactyl tracks, we report sauropod- and thyreophoran-like tracks on two other surfaces from Chassiron–La Morelière.