Tracks - Footprints

Mateus, O., Milàn J., Romano M., & Whyte M. A. (2011).  New finds of stegosaur tracks from the Upper Jurassic Lourinhã Formation, Portugal. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 56(1), 651-658. Abstractmateus_et_al_2011_-_deltapodus_with_skin_impressions_from_portugal.pdf

Eleven new tracks from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal are described and attributed to the stegosaurian ichnogenus Deltapodus. One track exhibits exceptionally well−preserved impressions of skin on the plantar surface, showing the stegosaur foot to be covered by closely spaced skin tubercles of ca. 6 mm in size. The Deltapodus specimens from the Aalenian of England represent the oldest occurrence of stegosaurs and imply an earlier cladogenesis than is recognized in the body fossil record.

Mateus, O., & Antunes M. T. (2003).  A New Dinosaur Tracksite in the Lower Cretaceous of Portugal. Ciências da Terra. 15, 253-262. Abstractmateus__antunes_2003-_early_k_dino_tracks_portugal.pdfWebsite

A new Lower Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) dinosaur tracksite at the Olhos de Água beach is described. It is the first vertebrate fossil finding ever found in the concerned unit, and yielded 128 tracks in 17 trackways within an area of ca. 80 square metres.
Three tridactyl footprint morphotypes have been recognized: - Type 1 (“Iguanodontipus-like”) - trackways D, F, K, J and P; - Type 2 (large theropod), although larger in size, typically from a Grallator-like theropod footprint, i.e. A, B, G, H and O trackways; - Type 3 (medium size theropod); M is the only track of this type. There are other, poorly preserved, unidentified trackways. The theropod, swinging trackway B was produced by an animal that was limping. The theropod track M starts eastwards but drastically changes westwards, speeding up at the same time; this dinosaur decided to turn around and run in the opposite direction.
This site shows three main trackway directions: to the South, to the East, and westwards. Except for the trackway O, large theropods A, B, G and H walked southwards. Perpendicularly to these, ornithopods, small theropods and unidentified trackmakers walked towards East (5) and West (7). The segregation of trackmakers and directions, with large theropod trackways southwards and other dinosaurs’ west or eastwards, may mean that large theropods patrolled a walkway area to an important resource, most probably water, often frequented by ornithopods and smaller theropods. There is no evidence of social behavior or gregarism: footprints’ overposition shows that the large, southwards walking theropods passed on different occasions. Three trackway sequences can be established by chronologic order.

Mateus, O., & Milan J. (2008).  Sauropod forelimb flexibility deduced from deep manus tracks. 52th Paleontological Association Annual Meeting. 18th-21st December 2008,. 67-68.: University of Glasgow Abstractmateus__milan_2008_palass_sauropod_forelimb_flexibility_deduced_from_deep_manus_tracks.pdf

Sauropods are often considered to have very limited mobility and reduced limb flexibility, mainly due to their giant size and consequent weight. In the Upper Jurassic Lourinhã Formation, central-west Portugal, deep vertical natural casts of sauropod manus tracks are often preserved as the infills of the original tracks. These manus tracks are vertical-walled, with marks of the striations of the skin scales, showing that the movement of the sauropod manus impacting and exiting the mud was totally vertical with no horizontal component of the stride. Some tracks are up to 66 cm deep, which is equivalent to the height of whole sauropod manus. This means that sauropods could lift their anterior feet in a complete vertical manner. Such movement is only possible if there is mobility at elbow and shoulder articulations in a higher degree than previously thought for sauropods. Our vision of sauropod limbs as inflexible columns has to be updated to a more dynamic model for limbs and body.

Mateus, O., & Milan J. (2008).  Ichnological evidence for giant ornithopod dinosaurs in the Upper Jurassic Lourinhã Formation, Portugal. Oryctos. 8, 47-52. Abstractmateus_and_milan_2008_ichnological_evidence_for_giant_ornithopod_big_ornithopod_track_from_u_j_lourinha_fm_portugal.pdfWebsite

The Upper Jurassic Lourinhã Formation (Lusitanian Basin, Portugal) contains a diverse dinosaur fauna comprising theropods, sauropods, stegosaurs, ankylosaurs and several genera of ornithopods. The sedimentology in the area favours preservation of tracksways, and tracks from most of the dinosaurs are also represented by skeletal remains. During fieldwork in the summer of 2003 a new, large, tridactyl track was found at the beach of Vale Frades, approximately 6 km north of Lourinhã (central west Portugal). The track was found together with a stegosaur track on a clay bed exposed within the intertidal zone. Due to the immediate danger of erosion, the track was collected and is now on display at Museu da Lourinhã. The track is 70 cm long and 69 cm wide, the toes are short and broad, with indications of short blunt claws, and there is a high angle of divarication between the outer digits. The shape and dimensions of the track identifies it as deriving from an ornithopod dinosaur with an estimated hip height around three metres. Although very large ornithopods are known from the Cretaceous, the largest known Jurassic ornithopod is Camptosaurus from North America, and the largest known from Portugal is the camptosaurid Draconyx loureiroi. Neither of these reached the body size suggested by the new track. So far the track described herein is the only evidence for a Jurassic ornithopod of that size.

Mateus, O., & Milan J. (2005).  Ichnological evidence for giant ornithopod dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic Lourinhã Formation, Portugal.. Abstract Book of the International Symposium on Dinosaurs and Other Vertebrates Palaeoichnology. 60., Fumanya, Barcelona Abstractmateus__milan_2005_footprint.pdf

The Late Jurassic Lourinhã Formation contains a diverse dinosaur fauna comprising theropods, sauropods, stegosaurs, ankylosaurs and several genera of ornithopods.
The sedimentology in the area favours preservation of footprints, and footprints from most of the dinosaurs represented by skeletal remains are present in the area. During fieldwork in the summer of 2003 a new, large, tridactyl footprint was found at the beach of Vale Frades, approximately 6 km north of Lourinhã, Portugal. The footprint was found together with a stegosaur footprint on a clay bed exposed within the tidal zone. The footprints were preserved as sandstone casts standing on a pedestal of clay. This unusual type of preservation is the result of the footprints having first been emplaced in clay, and then filled with sand. During the present day erosion from the sea, the harder sandstone cast of the footprints protects the subjacent clay layers from erosion. Owing to the immediate danger of erosion of, the footprint was collected and is now on display at Museu da Lourinhã (ML 1000). The footprint is 70 cm long and 69 cm wide, the toes are short and broad, with indications of short blunt claws. The

divarication angle between the outer digits is close to 90 degrees. The dimensions and general

morphology of the footprint identifies it as deriving from an ornithopod dinosaur with an estimated hip height of 4.13 metres. Although very large ornithopods are known from the Cretaceous, the largest known Jurassic ornithopod is Camptosaurus from USA, and the largest known from Portugal is the camptosaurid Draconyx loureiroi. Neither of these reached the body size suggested by the new footprint. So far the footprint described herein is s the only evidence for a Jurassic ornithopod of that size.

Milan, J., Christiansen P., & Mateus O. (2005).  A three-dimensionally preserved sauropod manus impression from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal: Implications for sauropod manus shape and locomotor mechanics. Kaupia. 14, 47-52. Abstractmilan_et_al_mateus_2005_-_3d_sauropod_manus_track_l_j_portugal.pdfWebsite

Sauropods were the largest animals ever to walk the earth, and evolved several specializations in their limbs in order to support their body mass. Their legs became columnar and their manual digits became reduced and encapsulated in tissue to form a single weight-bearing unit in the derived sauropods. A new three-dimensionally preserved cast of a sauropod manus, found in the Upper Jurassic Lourinhã Formation, Portugal, demonstrates not only the shape, but also the actual movements of the sauropod manus during the stride. The manus cast is 32 cm deep, and show the manus to be hoof-shaped and lacking any impressions of individual digits, except for digit I, the pollex. Well preserved striations from skin on the sides of the cast show that the manus was covered in rough, tubercular skin. The width of the manus cast is consistent from top to bottom, demonstrating that the manus was brought down and lifted vertically before any parasaggital movement of the upper limb took place.

Mateus, O., & Milan J. (2010).  A diverse Upper Jurassic dinosaur ichnofauna from central-west Portugal. Lethaia. 43, 245–257., Jan Abstractmateus__milan_2010_-_diverse_l_j_ichnofauna_from_lourinha_fm_portugal.pdfWebsite

A newly discovered dinosaur track-assemblage from the Upper Jurassic Lourinha˜ Formation (Lusitanian Basin, central-west Portugal), comprises medium- to large-sized sauropod tracks with well-preserved impressions of soft tissue anatomy, stegosaur tracks and tracks from medium- to large-sized theropods. The 400-m-thick Lourinha˜ Formation consists of mostly aluvial sediments, deposited during the early rifting of the Atlantic Ocean in the Kimmeridgian and Tithonian. The stratigraphic succession shows several shifts between flood-plain mud and fluvial sands that favour preservation and fossilization of tracks. The studied track-assemblage is found preserved as natural casts on the underside of a thin bivalve-rich carbonate bed near the Tithonian–Kimmeridgian boundary. The diversity of the tracks from the new track assemblage is compared with similar faunas from the Upper Jurassic of Asturias, Spain and the Middle Jurassic Yorkshire Coast of England. The Portuguese record of Upper Jurassic dinosaur body fossils show close similarity to the track fauna from the Lourinha˜ Formation.

Mateus, O., & Milan J. (2010).  First records of crocodyle and pterosaur tracks in the Upper Jurassic of Portugal.. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 51, 83-87., Jan Abstractmateus_and_milan_2010_portugal_first_records_of_crocodyle_and_pterosaur_tracks_in_the_upper_jurassic_of_portugal.pdfWebsite

The Upper Jurassic of Portugal has a rich vertebrate fauna well documented from both body and trace fossils. Although the occurrence of crocodyles and pterosaurs is well documented from body fossils, trace fossils from both groups were unknown until now. Here we describe an isolated crocodyle-like track from Praia da Peralta and pterosaur tracks from the Kimmeridgian of Pedreira do Avelino, Sesimbra (Azóia Fm.) and Porto das Barcas, Lourinhã (Lourinhã Fm.). An enigmatic track suggests the possible presence of a small, tail-dragging tetrapod.
Possible track-makers are suggested based on the known Late Jurassic vertebrate fauna of Portugal.