Sauropod forelimb flexibility deduced from deep manus tracks

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


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.



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