Reevaluation of the Lark Quarry dinosaur tracksite (late Albian–Cenomanian Winton Formation, central-western Queensland, Australia): no longer a stampede?

Romilio, Anthony, Tucker, Ryan T., and Salisbury, Steven W. (2013) Reevaluation of the Lark Quarry dinosaur tracksite (late Albian–Cenomanian Winton Formation, central-western Queensland, Australia): no longer a stampede? Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 33 (1). pp. 102-120.

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Abstract

The Lark Quarry dinosaur tracksite has previously been recognized as recording the stampede of a mixed herd of dozens of small theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs. A reexamination of trackway material reveals that the small theropod-type tracks, previously assigned to the ichnotaxon Skartopus, can co-occur within individual trackways of the ornithopod-type tracks assigned to Wintonopus. Moreover, in singular deep tracks where the overall surface outline resembles Skartopus, the base of the track can also resemble Wintonopus. Whereas the Wintonopus holotype may reflect the pedal anatomy of a short-toed or subunguligrade ornithopod trackmaker, the elongate 'toe' impressions typically associated with Skartopus (including the holotype) primarily provide information on digit movement through the sediment and, in many instances, may represent swim traces. The morphological differences between the two ichnotaxa are therefore not taxonomically significant and we formally propose that Skartopus australis should be considered a junior synonym of Wintonopus latomorum. Longitudinal depth profiles through tracks indicate that many are swim traces. The sedimentology and lithology of Lark Quarry further indicates the site represents a time-averaged assemblage formed in a fluvial-dominated floodplain under variable subaqueous conditions, with the parallel orientation of the numerous trackways formed by trackmakers under the influence of downstream current flow. This indicates that the fluvial environment may have been a preferred route for hydrophilic bipedal dinosaurs. We thus do not consider the Lark Quarry dinosaur tracksite to represent a 'stampede.' Instead, the tracksite may represent part of a riverine setting, where the water was shallow, in which small dinosaurs swam and/or waded.

Item ID: 33362
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1937-2809
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), University of Queensland (UQ), Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Longreach Regional Council
Projects and Grants: ARC LP0776851
Date Deposited: 25 May 2014 05:48
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040308 Palaeontology (incl Palynology) @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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