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2009-03-15 – Impronte di dinosauri rimosse dalla “Jurassic Coast” (Dinosaur print stolen)

 Lastre contenenti impronte di dinosauri sono state rimosse dalla famosa Jurassic Coast (Gran Bretagna meridionale) per proteggerle


Dinosaur print stolen from quarry

Dinosaur footprints
Another 25 slabs with fossil footprints have now been moved to safer place

A 135-million-year-old fossilised dinosaur footprint has been stolen from a quarry in Dorset.

The print was chiselled out of a limestone slab at Coombefield Quarry on the Jurassic Coast on Portland sometime over the last six months.

Another 25 slabs with fossil footprints have now been moved to a safer place.

Portland Gas Storage Ltd, which plans to build a storage facility, set up a trust to safeguard unearthed prints.

‘Treasured items’

The other slabs bear the footprints of dinosaurs including the two-legged herbivore iguanadon and the four-legged herbivore sauropod.

They were all – including the 18-inch one that was stolen – unearthed by quarrying at the Stone Firms Ltd site in 2002.

Portland Gas Trust manager, Rachel Barton said: “Aside from the risk of vandalism or theft by some elements of the public, their previous setting was a busy working site exposing the treasured items to unnecessary risk.

“Safeguarding these historic footprints supports the trust’s key aims to benefit projects connected with Portland.”

The company’s gas storage facility will comprise 14 underground storage caverns to hold 1% of the UK’s annual demand for natural gas.

The trust plans to put the footprints on display at a new £1.5m visitor centre.

source: BBC


marzo 15, 2009 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, 2 Jurassic / Giurassico, Europa, Mesozoic, P - Geositi, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-11-26 – Tracce attuali di un Protista (Gromia sphaerica) mettono in discussione l’origine di quelle fossili

La scoperta di tracce lasciate da un piccolo organismo sul fondo dell’Oceano mette in dubbio l’origine di trace analoghe risalenti al Precambriano. Infatti molte tracce analoghe erano state attribuite ad organismi vermiformi (e quindi evolutivamente molto più complessi) mentre ora tale scoperta fa nascere nuovi interrogativi sull’interpretazione delle tracce fossili del precambriano e sulla diversificazione iniziale dei Bilateralia (wiki link: ENG, GER, ITA).

Tale scoperta ha inoltre spinto gli autori della ricerca a far partire il progetto “deep-sea palaeontology”, ossia la costruzione di una databas di trcce attuali da confrontare poi con quelle fossili


‘Grape’ is key to fossil puzzle


It moves slowly across the ocean floor
The protist is similar to a grape in size and shape

A single-celled ball about the size of a grape may provide an explanation for one of the mysteries of fossil history.

Writing in Current Biology, researchers say the creature leaves tracks on the seabed which mirror fossilised tracks left up to 1.8 billion years ago.

Many palaeontologists believe only multi-celled organisms could have made these tracks.

This has been difficult to confirm as no multi-cellular fossils of such an age have ever been found.

Covered in mud

The discovery was made by marine biologists monitoring the sea bed in the Bahamas. They noticed a great deal of tracks made by grape-shaped creatures called protists. Dr Mikhail “Misha” Matz from the University of Texas at Austin, US, led the research.

“We were looking for pretty animals that have eyes, are coloured, or glow in the dark; instead, the most interesting find was the organism that was blind, brainless, and completely covered in mud,” he said.

The researchers say the 3cm-wide, single-celled protists propel themselves using tiny protruding legs called pseudopodia. A number of openings all over the body act as mouths and outlets for waste.

The protists move very slowly, taking weeks or even months to make a track of a few centimetres. As the sea bed currents where they were observed are very slight, their tracks are not washed away.

Worm casts

The protist tracks look very similar to fossil tracks found in the pre-Cambrian era more than 500 million years ago.

Perhaps the most famous are the “worm casts” found in the Stirling Ranges in Western Australia. In 2002, these were dated to at least 1.2 billion years old.

The Stirling formation fossil is at least 1.2 billion years old
The worm casts may not have been made by worms after all

This dating presented a problem for palaeontologists; they assumed multi-cellular organisms with bilateral symmetry, where two halves of their bodies are approximate mirror images of each other, had to be responsible for such tracks, but there is no fossil evidence for the existence of such creatures until several million years later.

Fossil experts believe bilateral symmetry is what gave the organism the ability to make the tracks, with the impressions being produced when the organism moved its weight from one side to another.

Dr Matz believes protists provide an explanation of how the tracks could have been made without the need for organisms with bilateral symmetry.

“We used to think that it takes bilateral symmetry to move in one direction across the seafloor and thereby leave a track,” he explains.

“You had to have a belly and a backside and a front and back end. Now, we show that protists can leave traces of comparable complexity and with a very similar profile.”

Cambrian explosion

Bilateral symmetry appeared in the Cambrian era about about 542 million years ago, early creatures quickly diversified into all of the major animal groups of today. Quite how or why this rapid diversification, known as the Cambrian explosion, occurred is still one of the biggest questions in animal evolution.

Very few fossils exist of organisms that could be the pre-Cambrian ancestors of bilateral animals, and even those are highly controversial. Fossil traces, such as these tracks are the most accepted evidence of the existence of these proto-animals.

We now have to rethink the fossil record
Dr Mikhail ‘Misha’ Matz,University of Texas at Austin

Dr Matz says all tracks which predate the rapid evolution of life seen in the Cambrian explosion – could come from protists.

“Pretty much anything within the Precambrian fossil record can in principle be attributed to large protozoans, from the earliest traces and fossils of the Stirling formation,” he says.

The researchers say forms described as “globular or bulbous collapsible bodies” which were found fossilised together with the Stirling formation’s worm trails are probably the remains of creatures very similar to the protists they found at the bottom of the sea.

The protist is about the size of a grape
The tracks resemble those found in prehistoric times

Genetic analysis shows this moving protist from the Bahamas is broadly the same as a stationary type found in the Arabian sea.

The researchers are now beginning a project which they call “deep-sea palaeontology” to create a catalogue of tracks produced by a variety of present-day underwater animals for comparison with the fossil record.

Dr Matz says the giant protists’ bubble-like structure is probably one of the planet’s oldest body designs, and may have existed for 1.8 billion years.

“Our guys may be the ultimate living fossils of the macroscopic world,” he says.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Deep-sea protists may explain trace fossil evidence attributed to ancient animals

Public release date: 20-Nov-2008
[ Print Article | E-mail Article | Close Window ]

Contact: Cathleen Genova
Cell Press

A new discovery challenges one of the strongest arguments in favor of the idea that animals with bilateral symmetry—those that, like us, have two halves that are roughly mirror images of each other—existed before their obvious appearance in the fossil record during the early Cambrian, some 542 million years ago. In the November 25th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, researchers report the first evidence that trace fossils interpreted by some as the tracks of ancient bilaterians could have instead been made by giant deep-sea protists, like those that can still be found at the seafloor to this day.

Protists are a diverse group of predominantly microscopic organisms. They are commonly single-celled with a single nucleus, but they may attain larger size by having many nuclei or forming colonies of identical, unspecialized cells. In the new study, the team describes macroscopic groove-like traces produced by living giant protists, known as Gromia sphaerica, which look something like a grape in terms of shape and size. Those grooves bear a remarkable resemblance to the trace fossils from the Precambrian, including ones as much as 1.8 billion years old.

“Our paper gives the precedent of a protozoan that is motile, produces macroscopic traces, and has a large hydrostatically supported body,” said Mikhail Matz of the University of Texas at Austin. “With these possibilities demonstrated, pretty much anything within the Precambrian fossil record can in principle be attributed to large protozoans, from the earliest traces and fossils of the Stirling formation that are 1.8 billion years old to the weird Ediacaran biota with which the Precambrian culminated.”

This new “protozoan option” takes the edge off the most compelling evidence of primitive bilaterians in the Precambrian that is so important for what has been called the “ancient school,” he says. That line of thinking holds that the apparently explosive diversification of multicellular body plans during the Cambrian is an artifact of the fossil record; it suggests that bilaterians actually existed long before the Cambrian and evolved gradually over time. Others think instead that the Cambrian explosion really happened the way it appears that it did and that evolutionary mechanisms must therefore be sought to explain the rapid diversification.

“Previously one could say, ‘There were traces, therefore there must have been bilaterians,’ whereas now it is ‘There were traces, therefore there may have been bilaterians,’ which is, obviously, not nearly as strong a statement,” Matz said.

He calls the findings a “classic case of scientific serendipity.” They stumbled upon the giant protists while working on a project exploring the interaction between light and life in the ocean. “We were looking for pretty animals that have eyes, are colored, or glow in the dark,” Matz said. “Instead, the most interesting find was the organism that was blind, brainless, and completely covered in mud.”

Almost nothing is known about G. sphaerica, he added. His team is now deep sequencing the genes expressed in this giant protist and a few related protozoans to get a better idea about their evolutionary relationships to one another. They also plan to initiate a project on “deep-sea paleontology” to create a catalogue of traces produced by a variety of present-day animals. “There is surprisingly little data on this, so paleontologists have to resort to speculations a lot when interpreting fossil traces,” Matz said.


 The researchers include Mikhail V. Matz, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Tamara M. Frank, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, Fort Pierce, FL; N. Justin Marshall, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Edith A. Widder, Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Fort Pierce, FL; and Sonke Johnsen, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.



scientific article:

Giant Deep-Sea Protist Produces Bilaterian-like Traces

Mikhail V. Matz, Tamara M. Frank, N. Justin Marshall, Edith A. Widder, Sönke Johnsen
Current Biology – 20 November 2008
Summary | Full Text | PDF (846 kb)


One of the strongest paleontological arguments in favor of the origin of bilaterally symmetrical animals (Bilateria) prior to their obvious and explosive appearance in the fossil record in the early Cambrian, 542 million years ago, is the occurrence of trace fossils shaped like elongated sinuous grooves or furrows in the Precambrian. Being restricted to the seafloor surface, these traces are relatively rare and of limited diversity, and they do not show any evidence of the use of hard appendages. They are commonly attributed to the activity of the early nonskeletonized bilaterians or, alternatively, large cnidarians such as sea anemones or sea pens. Here we describe macroscopic groove-like traces produced by a living giant protist and show that these traces bear a remarkable resemblance to the Precambrian trace fossils, including those as old as 1.8 billion years. This is the first evidence that organisms other than multicellular animals can produce such traces, and it prompts re-evaluation of the significance of Precambrian trace fossils as evidence of the early diversification of Bilateria. Our observations also render indirect support to the highly controversial interpretation of the enigmatic Ediacaran biota of the late Precambrian as giant protists.

novembre 26, 2008 Posted by | America Central, Articolo sc. di riferimento, Attuale, Italiano (riassunto), P - Evoluzione, P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia, Precambriano | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-11-20 – Bolivia: Impronte di dinosauri (Bolivian dinosaur tracks)

Un contadino Boliviano conduce ricercatori alla scoperta di nuove impronte di dinosauri ….

Bolivian farmer leads to dinosaur discovery

Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:18pm GMT

By David Mercado

ICLA, Bolivia (Reuters) – Bolivian farmer Primo Rivera had long wondered about the dents in a rocky hill near his home. Paleontologists solved the mystery this month: they are fossilized dinosaur footprints — the oldest in Bolivia.

“I used to come to look at the prints when I was a kid … but I didn’t know what had made them,” said Rivera, 35, who lives in the southern province of Chuquisaca.

The fossilized footsteps that intrigued Rivera for two decades are thought to be about 140 million years old, much older than other dinosaur prints found in the Andean country.

“The footprints we’ve found are important because they’re the oldest ever found in Bolivia … and the oldest footprints of Ankylosaurus ever found in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia in Buenos Aires.

Apesteguia, who led a two-week expedition sponsored by Chuquisaca’s regional government, thinks the footprints belong to three different kinds of dinosaurs, including Ankylosaurus, an armored herbivore.

He said some of the prints were about 14 inches long, suggesting that the dinosaurs were “medium-sized … about nine or 10 meters (about 30 feet) in length.”

Close to the larger prints, the paleontologists found smaller ones that probably belonged to baby dinosaurs, indicating the offspring “were given some kind of care,” Apesteguia said.

Rivera said he first spotted the imprints about 20 years ago, but could never figure out what they were. 

A few years ago, he visited a dinosaur park near Sucre, Chuquisaca’s regional capital, and noticed that the dinosaur footprints on show resembled the holes near his parent’s home.

Sucre is renowned for having the largest set of fossilized dinosaur footsteps ever discovered.

When Rivera bumped into members of Apesteguia’s team doing research near his village of Icla, and told them about the holes.

“It was a stroke of luck that this man had been intrigued by the footprints since he was a child,” said paleontologist Pablo Gallina, who along with Apesteguia, works for Argentina’s Felix de Azara Natural History Foundation.

(Additional reporting by Damian Wroclavsky in Buenos Aires; Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

source: reuters

novembre 20, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, America Southern, Italiano (riassunto), P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-11-09 – Utah, USA: Nessuna “pista da ballo” per i dinosauri (no “dinosaur dance floor”)

Un sopralluogo di altri ricercatori (i paleontologi Brent Breithaupt, Alan Titus e Andrew Milner, e il geologo Rody Cox) afferma che le persunte impronte di dinosauri recentemente descritte (in Vermilion Cliffs National Monumen) non sono altro che forme di erosione. Intanto gli autori dello studio Marjorie Chan and Winston Seiler, sembrano convincersi delle critiche; e in particolare Marjorie Chan si difende affermando che se le tracce sono effettivamente forme di erosione sono diverse da quelle che si ritrovano all’interno della stessa formzione rocciosa.

precedente post: 2008-10-20 – USA: nuovo ritrovamento di impronte di dinosauri, la “sala da ballo”! (dinosaur tracks,”dinosaur dance floor”)


Paleontologists Doubt ‘Dinosaur Dance Floor’

Potholes or Tracks? Both Sides Team for Follow-up Study

Media Contacts

Nov. 7, 2008 – A group of paleontologists visited the northern Arizona wilderness site nicknamed a “dinosaur dance floor” and concluded there were no dinosaur tracks there, only a dense collection of unusual potholes eroded in the sandstone.

So the scientist who leads the University of Utah’s geology department says she will team up with the skeptics for a follow-up study.

“Science is an evolving process where we seek the truth,” says Marjorie Chan, professor and chair of geology and geophysics, and co-author of a recent study that concluded the pockmarked, three-quarter-acre site in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was a 190-million-year-old dinosaur “trample surface”.

“We went through the proper scientific process of careful study, comparisons with other published works and peer review” of the study by independent scientists, Chan adds. “We gave the project considerable critical thought and came up with a different interpretation than the paleontologists, but we are open to dialogue and look forward to collaborating to resolve the controversy.”

On Oct. 30 – more than a week after the Utah study was publicized worldwide – four scientists hiked to the remote wilderness-area site: paleontologist Brent Breithaupt, director and curator of the University of Wyoming’s Geological Museum; U.S. Bureau of Land Management paleontologist Alan Titus and geologist Rody Cox; and paleontologist Andrew Milner of the St. George (Utah) Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.

They saw dinosaur tracks en route, but none in the pockmarked “dance floor.”

“There simply are no tracks or real track-like features at this site,” Breithaupt says. “We will be investigating the formation of these features in the upcoming study. Science works best when scientists work together.”

Chan and Winston Seiler, who conducted the research as part of his master’s thesis, say they are not retracting their study, which was published in the October issue of Palaios, an international paleontology journal. But they acknowledge there are strong arguments for the features being potholes rather than dinosaur tracks. The original study cited the possibility that the features were potholes and outlined arguments against it.

Chan says if the features are potholes, they are extremely unusual compared with typical potholes on the Colorado Plateau – and their formation still needs to be explained fully. She will work with Breithaupt and the others to examine the site in greater detail.

“A reinterpretation could emerge, but those conclusions have not yet been written as a scientific paper and need to be submitted to a journal for publication after peer review by other scientists,” she says.

Nevertheless, the University of Utah geologists feel obligated to inform the public of the difference of opinion because of wide publicity about the “dinosaur dance floor.”

“The public interest has been tremendous, and fortunately there are many other fantastic, accessible, documented dinosaur track sites than can be visited in the area,” Breithaput says.

Seiler spent considerable time at the unusual site. He acknowledges that the dinosaur track interpretation is controversial, further study is warranted, and if the paleontologists turn out to be correct, “that’s part of science.”

Chan adds: “This is how science works, and we’ll have to see how it shakes out in the end.”

The original Oct. 20 “dinosaur dance floor” news release and high-resolution photos are at:



previous post: 2008-10-20 – USA: nuovo ritrovamento di impronte di dinosauri, la “sala da ballo”! (dinosaur tracks,”dinosaur dance floor”)


Other links:

Paleontologists Doubt ‘Dinosaur Dance Floor’
Science Daily (press release) – 7 nov 2008
7, 2008) – A group of paleontologists visited the northern Arizona wilderness site nicknamed a “dinosaur dance floor” and concluded there were no dinosaur tracks there, only a dense collection of unusual potholes eroded in the sandstone.
Dinosaur experts bust up prehistoric party theory The Associated Press
Dancing with the dino stars: Dispute boils Salt Lake Tribune
Newspost Online – United Press International – – Salt Lake Tribune
e altri 110 articoli simili »

novembre 9, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, 2 Jurassic / Giurassico, America Northern, Italiano (riassunto), P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-20 – USA: nuovo ritrovamento di impronte di dinosauri, la “sala da ballo”! (dinosaur tracks,”dinosaur dance floor”)

Pubblicato sul numeo di Ottobre della rivista Palaios, dai ricercatori dell’università dello Utah Winston M. Seiler e Marjorie A. Chan, uno studio preliminare su un nuovo sito contenente tracce di dinosauri.

L’area è situata al confine tra Arizona e Utah e gli strati contenenti le tracce appartengono alla Navajo Sandstone Formation e risalgono a 190 milioni di anni fa (Giurassico inferiore).

Le tracce sia di piedi che di code presentano un’elevata densità di frequenza, sono state attribuite ad almeno tre ichnogeneri cf. Eubrontes, cf. Anchisauripus, cf. Grallator, e curiosamente fino ad ora erano state ritenute forme di erosione superficiale.

Il rinvenimento di tali impronte è significativo anche perche le aree della Navajo Sandstone Formation erano ritenute un unico immenso deserto, ma il fatto che vi fossero animali con elevate necessità fa ritenere invece dovevano essere presenti anche aree on risorse sufficienti al loro fabbisogno.


Public release date: 20-Oct-2008
Contact: Lee Siegel
University of Utah

‘A dinosaur dance floor’

Numerous tracks at Jurassic oasis on Arizona-Utah border

Geologist Winston Seiler with some of the dinosaur tracks he identified for his thesis as a University of Utah master’s degree student. The impressions once were thought to be potholes…
Click here for more information.

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah geologists identified an amazing concentration of dinosaur footprints that they call “a dinosaur dance floor,” located in a wilderness on the Arizona-Utah border where there was a sandy desert oasis 190 million years ago.

The three-quarter-acre site – which includes rare dinosaur tail-drag marks – provides more evidence there were wet intervals during the Early Jurassic Period, when the U.S. Southwest was covered with a field of sand dunes larger than the Sahara Desert.

Located within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, the “trample surface” (or “trampled surface”) has more than 1,000 and perhaps thousands of dinosaur tracks, averaging a dozen per square yard in places. The tracks once were thought to be potholes formed by erosion. The site is so dense with dinosaur tracks that it reminds geologists of a popular arcade game in which participants dance on illuminated, moving footprints.

“Get out there and try stepping in their footsteps, and you feel like you are playing the game ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ that teenagers dance on,” says Marjorie Chan, professor and chair of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah. “This kind of reminded me of that – a dinosaur dance floor – because there are so many tracks and a variety of different tracks.”

“There must have been more than one kind of dinosaur there,” she adds. “It was a place that attracted a crowd, kind of like a dance floor.”

A study identifying the dinosaur track site was published in the October issue of the international paleontology journal Palaios. Chan is senior author of the study, which was conducted for a master’s degree thesis by former graduate student Winston Seiler, who now works at Chevron Inc., in Bakersfield, Calif.

University of Utah geologist Winston Seiler walks among hundreds of dinosaur footprints in a “trample surface ” that likely was a watering hole amid desert sand dunes during the Jurassic Period…
Click here for more information.

Seiler says the range of track shapes and sizes reveals at least four dinosaur species gathered at the watering hole, with the animals ranging from adults to youngsters.

“The different size tracks [1 inch to 20 inches long] may tell us that we are seeing mothers walking around with babies,” he says.

The site – a 6-mile roundtrip hike from the nearest road – is in Arizona in the Coyote Buttes North area of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which is part of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The track site – about halfway between Kanab, Utah, and Page, Ariz. – is near a popular wind-sculpted sandstone attraction known as the Wave.

A Dense Collection of Dinosaur Footprints – and a Few Tail Drags
 Chan says the new study is the first scientific publication to identify the impressions as dinosaur footprints on a trample surface.

As part of the study, Seiler marked off 10 random plots, each of 4 square meters, or roughly 2 yards by 2 yards. He counted 473 tracks within those plots – an average of 12 per square meter. He conservatively estimates the 3,000-square-meter site (about 0.75 acres) has more than 1,000 tracks, but he and Chan believe there perhaps are thousands.

Numerous dinosaur track sites have been found in the western United States, including more than 60 in Navajo Sandstone, where actual dinosaur bones are rare.

“Unlike other trackways that may have several to dozens of footprint impressions, this particular surface has more than 1,000,” Seiler and Chan wrote. And they say the density of tracks is much greater than it is at even larger track sites, such as the one at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.

The dinosaur tracks and tail marks near the Wave were preserved in the vast Navajo Sandstone Formation. But unlike the dunes that make up much of the Navajo Sandstone, the tracks are within what was a wet, low watering hole between the dunes.

“We’re looking at an area much like the Sahara Desert with blowing sand dunes,” Seiler says. “Areas between these sand dunes could have had ponds – oases.”

The 2.4-inch-wide tail-drag marks – which are up to 24 feet long – are a special discovery because there are fewer than a dozen dinosaur tail-drag sites worldwide, Seiler says. Four tail drags were within the 10 plots he surveyed, and there are others nearby.

“Dinosaurs usually weren’t walking around with their tails dragging,” he says.

This Eubrontes dinosaur footprint — including three toes and a heel — measures roughly 16 inches long. Dinosaur footprints are named by their shape because the species and genus of…
Click here for more information.

Potholes – or Prints from Four Kinds of Dinosaurs?
 Chan first visited the site of the dinosaur tracks in 2005 with a BLM ranger who was puzzled by them. Chan initially called them potholes, which are erosion features common in desert sandstone, “but I knew that wasn’t the whole story because of the high concentration and because they weren’t anywhere else nearby but along that one surface.”

Seiler first saw the site in 2006. “At first glance, they look like weathering pits – a field of odd potholes,” he says. “But within about five minutes of wandering around, I realized these were dinosaur footprints.”

One anonymous reviewer of the Palaios study still believes the holes are erosion features. The study argues the impressions are from dinosaurs because:


  • They are the correct size for tracks made by big animals, and are limited to a single rock bed.  
  • Four different kinds of footprint shapes are seen repeatedly in 14 percent of the impressions, and they include obvious claw, toe and heel marks. The other impressions “are clearly similar.”  
  • One-third of the prints are surrounded by small ridges or mounds. Such features would be expected when animals stepped in wet sand.  
  • The tracks “are rarely flat and are typically oriented at an angle into the sediment … and indicate a clear direction of travel” to the west-southwest. Seiler says the direction the dinosaurs walked “either was dictated by the large dunes that bounded this wet area, or it could be communal behavior, like walking together as a pack.”  
  • About one-eighth of the tracks show “overprinting,” in which a dinosaur stepped in the footprint of another or even in its own prints. 

“While these impressions may be mistaken for potholes caused by weathering, close examination reveals many footprint features,” Seiler says.

Dinosaur footprints are named by their shape because the animals that made them haven’t been identified. Four kinds of footprints were found on the trample surface:


  • Eubrontes footprints measure 10 inches to 16 inches long and have three toes and a heel. Eubrontes tracks are believed to have been made by upright-walking dinosaurs 16 to 20 feet long, or smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex.  
  • Grallator tracks are about 4 inches to 7 inches long, are three-toed and were left by small dinosaurs only a few feet tall.  
  • Sauropodomorph dinosaur tracks, which are more circular than the other types, were left by creatures that walked on four legs and were the largest dinosaurs at the site. Their tracks range from 6 inches to 11 inches long. Seiler says the tail-drag marks are associated with these circular footprints, so they likely were made by sauropods.  
  • Anchisauripus tracks measure 7 inches to 10 inches long and were made by dinosaurs that ranged from 6 feet to 13 feet in length. 
An Oasis for Dinosaurs in a Vast Desert of Dunes
 When the footprints were made 190 million years ago, “the continents were arranged so this area was in the tropics” and was part of the supercontinent named Pangaea, says Seiler. “It was a desert, like the Sahara but much larger than the Sahara is today,” covering much of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

“Some studies indicate winds probably were much stronger than normal because all the continents were together,” says Chan. “That’s why you had monster dunes.”

“To support large dinosaurs, there probably wasn’t just one watering hole for them to go to, but many,” Seiler says. “They wandered between a network of watering holes for food and water.”

In that sense, the trample surface is not “just a wet pond,” but “it’s possibly a record of global climate change” – a shift from drier to wetter conditions, Chan says.

She says the traditional view is that the Navajo Sandstone represents “a vast, dry uninhabitable desert. But now we are seeing there are a lot of variations, and there were periods when dinosaurs were living there.”

Seiler envisions the dinosaurs were “happy to be at this place, having wandered up and down many a sand dune, exhausted from the heat and the blowing sand, relieved and happy to come to a place where there was water.”

The trample surface “helps paint a picture of what it was like to live back then,” he says. “Tracks tell us what the dinosaurs were doing, what their behavior was, what life was like for them, what they did on a day-to-day basis.”

After the dinosaurs left their prints, the trample surface was covered by shifting dunes, which eventually became Navajo Sandstone. Then, the rock slowly eroded away, exposing the tracks. The tracks eventually will erode too, Seiler says.


 Seven additional images relevant to this press release are available:

Dinosaur Footprints and Tail-drag Marks
Grallator Dinosaur Track
Sauropodomorph Dinosaur Track
Dinosaur Trackway
Extent of the ‘Dinosaur Dance Floor’
Dinosaur Dance Floor Locator Map
Geologist Winston Seiler

Note: Access to Area is Limited, Permits Required

The dinosaur trample surface and a nearby feature known as the Wave are in the Coyote Buttes North Special Permit Area of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. A permit and $7 per person fee are required to enter the area.

There is now a four-month wait for the 10 permits issued daily by phone or online. For permits by phone, call the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in St. George, Utah, at (435) 688-3246. For information and permits online, go to , and then click on “Coyote Buttes.” (If Coyote Buttes page doesn’t open, follow instructions to enable TLS security.)

An additional 10 permits are issued daily – one day in advance of the hike – during a 9 a.m. walk-in lottery March 15-Nov. 14 at the Paria Contact Station, and Nov. 15-March 14 at the BLM’s Kanab (Utah) Field Office.

News media interested in accessing the area should contact Linda Price, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument manager, at (435) 688-3241.

University of Utah Public Relations
201 Presidents Circle, Room 308
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In German:

Dancefloor für Dinos
Spiegel Online – 1 ora fa
Hunderte Fußabdrücke von Sauriern glauben Paläontologen im Westen der USA gefunden zu haben. Die Spuren liegen so dicht beieinander, dass die Forscher den
190 Millionen Jahre alt: Forscher entdecken Dinosaurier-Treffpunkt
Hannoversche Allgemeine (Abonnement) – 1 ora fa
Auf einen 190 Millionen Jahre alten Versammlungsplatz von Dinosauriern sind US-Forscher gestoßen. Bisher haben die Wissenschaftler mehr als 1000 Spuren
Dinosaurier-“Tanzboden” entdeckt
scinexx | Das Wissensmagazin mit Science-News aus – 5 ore fa
Eine erstaunliche Konzentration von Dinosaurierfußspuren haben Geologen an der Grenze zwischen Arizona und Utah entdeckt. Vor rund 190 Millionen Jahren eine


Other links: (update on 2008-10-21 11:27 Italy)

CBS News

Geologists discover `dinosaur dance floor’
The Associated Press – 1 ora fa
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Geologists say they have discovered prehistoric animal tracks so densely packed on a 3/4-acre site that they’re calling it a “dinosaur dance floor.” The site along the Arizona-Utah state line offers a rich new set of clues about
U. geologists discover dinosaur stomping ground Salt Lake Tribune
Dinosaur Dance Floor’ FOXNews
Discovery Channel – Science Daily (press release) – Discover Magazine
e altri 215 articoli simili »

Rock records dino ‘dance floor’
BBC News – 17 ore fa
Scientists have identified an amazing collection of dinosaur footprints on the Arizona-Utah border in the US. There are so many prints – more than 1000
Geologists discover ‘dinosaur dancefloor’ in remote American
Daily Mail – 39 minuti fa
By Claire Bates Scientists have likened the wealth of tracks and tail-drag marks on the three-quarter acre site to a crowded ‘dinosaur dance floor.


Other links in Italiano: (update on 2008-10-21 18:05 Italy)

La Repubblica
ASCA – Agenzia Stampa Quotidiana Nazionale – 22 minuti fa
(ASCA) – Roma, 21 ott – Un gruppo di geologi dell’Utah ha scoperto un’area a densissima concentrazione di impronte di 190 milioni di anni fa lasciate sulle
“Sembra una pista da ballo” La Repubblica
e altri 2 articoli simili »
La Repubblica – 17 ott 2008
I dinosauri utilizzavano le lunghe creste ossee sulla testa per produrre suoni musicali con cui comunicavano tra di loro: e’ la nuova teoria degli


Original Article:


Volume 23, Issue 10 (October 2008), pag 700

A Wet Interdune Dinosaur Trampled Surface in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Coyote Buttes, Arizona: Rare Preservation of Multiple Track Types and Tail Traces

Winston M. Seiler and Marjorie A. Chan

ottobre 20, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, 2 Jurassic / Giurassico, America Northern, Articolo sc. di riferimento, Italiano (riassunto), Lang. - German, Lang. - Italiano, P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 commento

2008-10-17 – Corea del Sud: 5 paleo-siti potrebbero entrare a far parte della lista Unesco (South Korea, dinosaurs, geo-site)

In Corea del sud è cominciato l’iter che potrebbe portare 5 aree con resti di Dinosauri ad essere inserite nella lista dei luoghi “patrimonio dell’umanita” UNESCO:

Haenam: il primo luogo al mondo dove sono tate trovate insieme impronte di Pterosauri e Uccelli (e di numerosi artropodi).

Hwasun: 1.550 impronte incluse quelle appartenenti a ben 60 teropodi

Su un isola presso Yeosu: 3500 impronte di dinosauri compresa una pista appatenente a un ornitopode lunga 85 metri.

Goseong: maggior concentrazione di impronte al mondo (con un gruppo con imponte di 410 individui) e con abbondanza di impronte di sauropodi (139) e ornitopodi. 

Boseong: 200 uova di dinosauro con diametro variabile da 60 a 180 mm e appartenenti a Sauropodi e Ornitopodi’. Presenti pure ossa di dinosauri e ossa e uova di tartarughe.

vedi pure precedente post del 2008-05-16: Impronte di baby Sauropodi in Korea


10-17-2008 18:52  

‘Dinosaur Coast’  Seeks UNESCO Listing


Prof. Huh Min, from Chonnam National University, inset photo, has initiated a campaign to have five areas of the southern coastline with thousands of dinosaur footprints listed on the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Natural Heritage list. As seen in the photo, Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, one of the five areas, has an 85-meter-long ornithopod track. / Courtesy of Chonnam National University

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

A campaign has been started to have five areas of the southern coastline where thousands of dinosaur footprints are to be found listed on the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Natural Heritage list.

The five are Haenam, Hwasun, Boseong, and Yeonsu in South Jeolla Province, and Goseong in South Gyeonsang Province.

If successful, the move will follow the 2007 listing of Jeju Island.

Haenam was the first place in the world where dinosaur, pterosaur and bird tracks were found together. It also has numerous large arthropod tracks. The 7.3-meter long tracks made by a flying reptile are visible at the center of the fossil site, which is listed as Natural Treasure No. 394.

In Hwasun, there are about 1,500 footprints, including those belonging to more than 60 theropods.
On an island off Yeosu are a total of 3,500 dinosaur footprints, including an 85-meter-long track made by an ornithopod. The large number of footprints is thought to show that the southwestern area was primarily covered with mesic forests.

Boseong has 200 fossilized eggs, ranging from 60 millimeters (mm) to 180 mms in diameter, from sauropods and ornithpods. Well-preserved dinosaur bones, and turtle bones and eggs are also at the site.

Goseong has the highest concentration of tracks in the world, including the footprints of 410 individuals in one group. It also has the most abundant ornithopod footprints as well as 139 sauropod footprints.

UNESCO is to start a field study there from Saturday.

Prof. Huh Min, from Chonnam National University and director of the Korea Dinosaur Research Center, is initiating the campaign. He stressed that having a natural heritage is somewhat different from having a cultural site. Korea has eight cultural sites, including old palaces.

“Unlike cultural sites featuring their comparative value to different cultures, the natural sites have to be the `only one’ valuable to the world. It has to be academically, culturally, and in every way the best in the world,” he said.

To receive the UNESCO Natural Heritage listing, support from local residents and the administrations is critical. The preparation committee has established safe and protective pathways for visitors as well as straightened roads to preclude any possible destruction of the sites. “We have streamlined the region,” Huh said.

Preparation has been underway for more than three years, and he expects UNESCO inspectors to recognize the value and importance of the “Korean Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast.”

“We have seen dinosaurs in Western movies such as Jurassic Park and picture books. But here, we also had flying reptiles, and all kinds of dinosaurs walking, drinking, laying eggs and living just like any other creature,” he said.

Huh was selected as one of the 100 top scientists in the world by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge, England, in 2005; one of the 2,000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century by the same institution in 2003; and one of the Great Minds of the 21st Century by the American Biographical Institute; for his pioneering studies on dinosaurs.


see also previous post: 2008-05-16: Impronte di baby Sauropodi in Korea

ottobre 17, 2008 Posted by | - Pterosauri, - R. Dinosauri, - Rettili, Asia, Italiano (riassunto), P - Geositi, P - Impronte, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-17 – Utah, Usa: Nuovo “cimitero di dinosauri” (“Dinosaur graveyard”, tracks, “Gnatalie”, Deltapodus)

Nel nuovo cimitero dei dinosauri nello Utah meridionale, studiato da Luis Chiappe, sorprendentemente vi sono impronte e resti fossili sia del Giurassico che del Cretaceo.

Tra i primi, datati intorno a 145 milioni di anni fa, vanno annoverati un nuovo sauropode chiamato informalmente “Gnatalie”, e impronte di Stegosauro finora rinvenute solo in Europa (Deltapodus).

Tra i resti del Cretaceo vi sono invece impronte di Sauropodi, Teropodi e Ornitopodi.


‘Dinosaur graveyard’ found in southeast Utah

A 150-million-year-old sauropod skeleton is the centerpiece of the finds from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, discovered by a Los Angeles team.
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
9:25 AM PDT, October 17, 2008
Los Angeles researchers have discovered a “dinosaur graveyard” in southeastern Utah that is yielding a wealth of fossilized animals and footprints from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The centerpiece of the new finds is the well-preserved skeleton of a 150-million-year-old sauropod — a long-necked herbivore — that researchers have named “Gnatalie” because the scientists were “eaten alive” by gnats while they were excavating it earlier this year.

The team has so far excavated only part of the fossilized skeleton, which they estimate to be about 50 feet long. “It’s big and takes a lot of time,” said paleontologist Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Gnatalie was found in the remains of what was once a big riverbed and is now a light-colored stratum on the face of an exposed cliff. Nearby in the bed were the disarticulated remains of other sauropods and meat-eating dinosaurs, including the five-foot-long femur of a brachiosaur.

On the ridgeline of the cliff, the team found a large number of footprints preserved in sandstone. Surprisingly, one set of prints from the Jurassic era, which ended about 145 million years ago, prints of a sauropod were found near tracks of carnivorous theropods and herbivorous ornithopods from the early Cretaceous period, which ended about 65 million years ago.

Most stunning of all, to Chiappe, were the three-toed prints of a European stegosaur, named  “Deltapodus tracks have never been found in North America,” he said.

Chiappe and his staff, led by Doug Goudreau and Aisling Farrell, expect to spend at least another decade excavating the site.

The finds will be the centerpiece of an exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County that will open in 2011, he said.

A renovation of the dinosaur exhibit is part of the museum’s $84-million project to restore and seismically strengthen its original 1913 Beaux-Arts-inspired building.



other links (updated on 2008-10-18 11:48 Italy):

‘Dinosaur graveyard’ found in southeast Utah
Los Angeles Times – 44 minuti fa
A 150-million-year-old sauropod skeleton is the centerpiece of the finds from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, discovered by a Los Angeles team.
No visas required for six countries
Boston Globe – 3 ore fa
President Bush, trying to eliminate a major source of contention with allied nations, announced yesterday that the United States is rescinding visa
UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News
United Press International – 6 ore fa
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Researchers said a dinosaur graveyard discovered in Utah holds a wealth of fossils from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Sauropod found in dinosaur graveyard
United Press International – 8 ore fa
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Researchers said a dinosaur graveyard discovered in Utah holds a wealth of fossils from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Willow Plants Cleaning Up Contamination (press release) – 6 ore fa
(Source: United Press International)Researchers said 23000 willow plants are helping clean up a 164000-gallon underground fuel leak at a US Army base.

ottobre 17, 2008 Posted by | - Ornitopodi, - R. Dinosauri, - Sauropodi, - Teropodi, 1 Cretaceo, 2 Jurassic / Giurassico, America Northern, Italiano (riassunto), Musei, P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-14 – Canada: Impronte di sauropodi (Sauropod,dinosaur tracks)

Un nuovo ritrovamento di impronte di dinosauri rappresenta la prima testimonianza della presenza di Sauropodi in Canada.


B.C. paleontologists seek clues in rare dinosaur tracks


Last Updated: Monday, October 13, 2008 | 8:31 AM ET  – CBC News

Paleontologists in northern B.C. are poring over rare evidence that the largest dinosaur that ever lived once roamed the province.

In August 2008, a group of coal miners discovered ancient sauropod tracks at a mine near Sparwood, B.C., in the province’s southeastern tip near the Alberta border.

Sauropods are a group of giant, plant-eating reptiles that roamed the Earth approximately 150 million years ago in the late Jurassic period.

Until the summer of 2008, there had been very little evidence of the giant dinosaurs in B.C., and paleontologist Rich McCrea said that’s what makes the discovery of a path of sauropod tracks so rare and valuable.

“It’s one of the major groups of dinosaurs that there was no record of until recently, and it was always a mystery as to why sauropods were not found in Canada,” McCrea said. “We’ve been doing paleontology for over 100 years and not a bit of bone or scrap of tooth, and now we have a track-way.”

Cast made of tracks

McCrea, the curator of the Peace Region Paleontology Centre in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., made a cast of the dinosaur’s metre-long tracks, impressed upon a vertical slab of rock nestled in the Rocky Mountains.

He and a team of experts are studying the cast in the hopes of learning more about the movements of the ancient creatures. They also plan to revisit the track site to complete more detailed mapping, measuring and photography of the tracks.

Alberta paleontologist Phil Curry said the Sparwood track-way fills in knowledge gaps about the movement of sauropods.

“Now, we have things like this track, which indicate dinosaurs definitely lived in this part of the world. We’ve just never had bones and skeletons of the animals,” Curry said.

After the cast has been studied, it will be on display at the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge. The public will be able to view the rare specimen when the museum reopens at its new location in 2009.


(see the source also for comments)


ottobre 13, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, - Sauropodi, America Northern, Lang. - Italiano, P - Impronte, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-07 – Impronte di Chirotherium dalla Chiesa al Museo di Liverpool

Making tracks to view the fossil record


CHIROTHERIUM tracks can still be seen in stone, above, over the porch of Christ Church, in Higher Bebington.

In 1859, sandstone from the quarry was used to build the church and when the old porch at Christchurch was remodelled in the 1890s, they shoved in a slab. They thought it made it “more interesting,” says Prof Bowden. They were supposedly known locally as “the Devil’s Footprints”.


SEE the Chirotherium tracks at World Museum Liverpool, William Brown Street, Liverpool.


ottobre 7, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, Curiosità, P - Impronte, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-07 – A rischio il Museo dei Dinosauri di Borgo Celano


 7/10/2008 9:00:20



di Angelo Del Vecchio

SAN MARCO IN LAMIS. Non solo i 3 miliardi di Grotta Paglicci, ma anche i 500 mila euro del Museo dei Dinosauri, in fase di costruzione a Borgo Celano, rischiano di saltare. E’ quanto emerso nei giorni scorsi nei corridoi di Palazzo Badiale, sede della municipalità cittadina di San Marco in Lamis, nel cui territorio ricade la frazione turistica di “Sammarcuccio”.

I fondi provengono da un finanziamento Por Puglia 2000-2006 (Progetto Integrato Settoriale Gargano n. 15 – “Territorio, cultura e ambiente del Gargano, Misura 2.1 – Valorizzazione e tutela del patrimonio culturale pubblico e miglioramento dell’offerta e della qualità dei servizi culturali) del Parco Nazionale del Gargano e ammontano a circa 500 mila euro. La costruzione del Parco Paleontologico è un’occasione unica per “riassemblare” tutte le impronte, scoperte qua e là nel corso di questi ultimi lustri, nei dintorni della Montagna del Sole e che testimoniano come queste terre fossero abitati da animali giganteschi, la cui estinzione rimane tuttora un mistero al quale gli studiosi stanno cercando di dare una spiegazione.

Per scongiurare il peggio l’Amministrazione Comunale di Michelangelo Lombardi (PD) si sta muovendo in tutte le direzioni ed è pronta a denunciare gli eventuali responsabili di un possibile blocco dei lavori, che vanno tutti ascritti nell’area dirigenziale del Parco Nazionale del Gargano.

L’avvio dei lavori per il Museo dei Dinosauri è stato voluto dall’ex-commissario dell’Ente (sono partiti nel giugno di quest’anno), il sammarchese Ciro Pignatelli, che ha dovuto sudare le fatidiche sette camice per accelerare il passo e scongiurare la perdita dei fondi. Oggi l’ennesima tegola sul Pis di Borgo Celano e la paura di non farcela, nonostante gli sforzi delle ditte e dei volontari.

A questo punto non resta che alzare la voce e di spiegare come sono andate veramente le cose, chiedendo al Parco una indagine conoscitiva sul caso, che dovrà riguardare per forze di cose anche la vicina Rignano Garganico, che ha quasi perso definitivamente oltre 1,5 milioni di euro per la realizzazione di un Museo Virtuale su Grotta Paglicci e sulla preistoria del Gargano. I due musei, se realizzati, dovranno operare in rete e crescere assieme per attirare in questa parte del Promontorio il turismo di massa legato al fascino della preistoria e ai “bestioni” della Montagna del Sole.

Dal Parco, intanto, nessuno risponde e tra gli Enti continua il rimpallarsi delle responsabilità.

Alla fine, oltre alla perdita dei fondi, si rischia tutti la perdita della dignità!


ottobre 7, 2008 Posted by | - Italia, - R. Dinosauri, Lang. - Italiano, Musei, P - Geositi, P - Impronte, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | 2 commenti