The theropod that wasn’t: an ornithopod tracksite from the Helvetiafjellet Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of Boltodden, Svalbard
Jørn H. Hurum, Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Øyvind Hammer, Hans A. Nakrem, Snorre Olaussen, 2016. "The theropod that wasn’t: an ornithopod tracksite from the Helvetiafjellet Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of Boltodden, Svalbard", Mesozoic Biotas of Scandinavia and its Arctic Territories, B. P. Kear, J. Lindgren, J. H. Hurum, J. Milàn, V. Vajda
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We re-examine a Lower Cretaceous dinosaur tracksite at Boltodden in the Kvalvågen area, on the east coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The tracks are preserved in the Helvetiafjellet Formation (Barremian). A sedimentological characterization of the site indicates that the tracks formed on a beach/margin of a lake or interdistributary bay, and were preserved by flooding. In addition to the two imprints already known from the site, we describe at least 34 additional, previously unrecognized pes and manus prints, including one trackway. Two pes morphotypes and one manus morphotype are recognized. Given the range of morphological variation and the presence of manus tracks, we reinterpret all the prints as being from an ornithopod rather than a theropod, as previously described. We assign the smaller (morphotype A, pes; morphotype B, manus) to Caririchnium billsarjeanti. The larger (morphotype C, pes) track is assigned to Caririchnium sp., differing in size and interdigital angle from the two described ichnospecies C. burreyi and C. billsarjeanti. The occurrence of a quadrupedal, small to medium-sized ornithopod in Svalbard is puzzling, considering the current palaeogeographical reconstructions and that such dinosaur tracks have mainly been described from Europe but not North America.
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Mesozoic Biotas of Scandinavia and its Arctic Territories
Scandinavia and its Arctic territories of Svalbard and Greenland represent geographical regions with a long history of Mesozoic palaeontology. However, the last few decades have witnessed a surge of new discoveries. Especially famous are the Triassic and Late Jurassic Lagerstätten of East Greenland and Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago, together with the Late Cretaceous strata of southern Sweden and the UNESCO World Heritage locality at Stevns Klint in Denmark. The latter records one of the most complete terminal Mesozoic rock successions known globally. Collectively, these deposits encompass the spectrum of Mesozoic biotic evolution, including the explosive radiation of marine faunas after the Permian–Triassic extinction, seminal specialization of amniotes for life in the sea, Late Triassic–Jurassic domination of the land by dinosaurs and the Cretaceous development of modern terrestrial floras and marine ecosystems. This volume, authored by leading experts in the field, encapsulates key aspects of the latest research and will provide a benchmark for future investigations into the Scandinavian Mesozoic world.
- Arctic region
- depositional environment
- fossil localities
- Lower Cretaceous
- statistical analysis
- Helvetiafjellet Formation
- Caririchnium billsarjeanti