Posts Tagged 'tracks'

Random tracks

One thing about being in palaeontology is that you tend to cover quite a diverse range of subject. Working with the material available means that even specialists in one group or on one method with often dabble quite widely in other areas of research. There’s not too many theropod guys who haven’t at least looked at ornithischians or sauropods or even crocs, pterosaurs and lizards and have probably published on a few of them. So too it is with things beyond bones and again a lot of people will have had some involvement with work on eggs or trackways.

In my case this means that for all my interest in all living things and my tendency to take in local pigeons and squirrels as much as species in zoos and museums, I now also get interested even by things like random footprints in bits of sand. Even this little can provide a bit of food for thought. Here for example the bird tracks are rather deeper than those of the cat and seem to interact with the substrate in a different way. The sand hasn’t changed as such between the two sets being laid down but of course could have been wetter or drier at different times – even a single base can react very differently according to local conditions and affecting how tracks are made and, by extension, how we interpret them.

Guest Post: Tracking Dinosaurs en-masse

Sadly I wasn’t able to get across to the recent conference on dinosaur tracks that was held in Obernkirchen, Germany. However, occasional Musings contributor Peter Falkingham did make it, and he was kind enough to write up an illustrated review of proceedings.

Continue reading ‘Guest Post: Tracking Dinosaurs en-masse’

Guest Post: Bringing bird tracks back down to Earth.

Today guest post regular Gareth Dyke talks about his recent work on a set of bird tracks from Morocco, alleged to be the oldest evidence for the avians. But things are more complex than they first appear….

Continue reading ‘Guest Post: Bringing bird tracks back down to Earth.’

Variation in footprints

I’ve written a bit about the variation inherent in footprints before, but now I can show quite a nice example I spotted on the beach recently. These two tracks were left by a dog running on the sand. Now I’m not sure if they are two hindfeet, two forefeet or a fore and a hind, but given the normal footfall pattern I suspect one of the former. It doesn’t really matter too much in any case given the fundamental similarity between the feet of a dog – you’d expect them to be pretty much identical.

As you can see through, it’s quite obvious that one foot has left a track rather different to the other with the two lateral footpads effectively missing. This might be down to ow the animal was running, some subtle variation in the substrate or something else (other tracks confirmed that the foot itself was normal as elsewhere there were normal tracks). Quite simply, tracks will vary and you want a decent set of them to make sure that any variations are accounted for, and therefore one must be especially careful with unusual, isolated tracks.


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