While I rarely delve into ichnology (that’s the study of trace fossils for those who’ve not been keeping up), I (fairly) recently came across something that was well worth sharing on the Musings. Many aspects of palaeontology require lots of extrapolation from limited data, or complex reconstructions of various organisms or mechanics etc. to try and work out some details of the biology of an animal known only from a few partial skeletons. Happily however, there’s certainly one aspect of palaeo at least that pretty much anyone can explore experimentally at home – making tracks.
Lots of people have done lots of experiments generating tracks on different substrates using different animals or models or even just recording tracks in the wild. It’s obviously incredibly simple to do and can help generate some real data for comparison to the fossil record. In this case, some nice slick mud following a rainstorm led to some beautifully clear tracks being laid down and early morning light left them wonderfully clear. What’s nice for me is that several features that I have seen described in various archosaur tracks are shown up really quite nicely here and it’s easy to see how similar factors would have led to these being laid down in the same way.
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