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The theropod that wasn’t: an ornithopod tracksite from the Helvetiafjellet Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of Boltodden, Svalbard

By
Jørn H. Hurum
Jørn H. Hurum
1
Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, PO Box 1172, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
2
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), PO Box 156, 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
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Patrick S. Druckenmiller
Patrick S. Druckenmiller
3
Department of Geosciences, University of Alaska Museum, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
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Øyvind Hammer
Øyvind Hammer
1
Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, PO Box 1172, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
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Hans A. Nakrem
Hans A. Nakrem
1
Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, PO Box 1172, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
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Snorre Olaussen
Snorre Olaussen
2
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), PO Box 156, 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
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Published:
January 01, 2016

Abstract

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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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Mesozoic Biotas of Scandinavia and its Arctic Territories

B. P. Kear
B. P. Kear
Uppsala University, Sweden
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J. Lindgren
J. Lindgren
Lund University, Sweden
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J. H. Hurum
J. H. Hurum
University of Oslo, Norway
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J. Milàn
J. Milàn
Geomuseum Faxe, Denmark
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V. Vajda
V. Vajda
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden
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Geological Society of London
Volume
434
ISBN electronic:
9781862391581
Publication date:
January 01, 2016

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