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Abstract

The Ørsted Dal Member of the Upper Triassic Fleming Fjord Formation in East Greenland is well known for its rich vertebrate fauna, represented by numerous specimens of both body and ichnofossils. In particular, the footprints of theropod dinosaurs have been described. Recently, an international expedition discovered several slabs with 100 small chirotheriid pes and manus imprints (pes length 4–4.5 cm) in siliciclastic deposits of this unit. They show strong similarities with Brachychirotherium, a characteristic Upper Triassic ichnogenus with a global distribution. A peculiar feature in the Fleming Fjord specimens is the lack of a fifth digit, even in more deeply impressed imprints. Therefore, the specimens are assigned here tentatively to cf. Brachychirotherium. Possibly, this characteristic is related to the extremely small size and early ontogenetic stage of the trackmaker. The record from Greenland is the first evidence of this morphotype from the Fleming Fjord Formation. Candidate trackmakers are crocodylian stem group archosaurs; however, a distinct correlation with known osteological taxa from this unit is not currently possible. While the occurrence of sauropodomorph plateosaurs in the bone record links the Greenland assemblage more closer to that from the Germanic Basin of central Europe, here the described footprints suggest a Pangaea-wide exchange.

Supplementary material:

Three-dimensional model of cf. Brachychirotherium pes–manus set (from MGUH 31233b) from the Upper Triassic Fleming Fjord Formation (Norian–Rhaetian) of East Greenland as pdf, ply and jpg files (3D model created by Oliver Wings; photographs taken by Jesper Milàn) is available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.2133546

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