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Were non-avian theropod dinosaurs able to swim? Supportive evidence from an Early Cretaceous trackway, Cameros Basin (La Rioja, Spain)

Ruben Ezquerra, Stefan Doublet, Loic Costeur, Peter M. Galton and Felix Perez-Lorente
Were non-avian theropod dinosaurs able to swim? Supportive evidence from an Early Cretaceous trackway, Cameros Basin (La Rioja, Spain)
Geology (Boulder) (June 2007) 35 (6): 507-510

Abstract

A fundamental question remaining unanswered in dinosaur behavior is whether they had the ability to swim. We report the discovery of an exceptional swimming dinosaur trackway, with 12 consecutive footprints, in lacustrine nearshore sediment from the Early Cretaceous Cameros Basin, La Rioja, Spain. The singular morphology of these footprints strongly suggests a floating animal clawing the sediment as it swam. Diagnostic traits of theropod dinosaur footprints are identifiable in these peculiar elongated S-shaped ichnites. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction indicates an upper shoreface setting with a maximum water depth of approximately 3 m, substantiating the swimming hypothesis. Ichnological analysis of the trackway shows that this theropod used a pelvic paddle motion, similar to that of modern bipeds, and swam with amplified asymmetrical walking movements to maintain direction into a leftward water current. After recent hints of swimming dinosaurs, this new evidence persuasively demonstrates that some non-avian theropod dinosaurs were swimmers.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 35
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Were non-avian theropod dinosaurs able to swim? Supportive evidence from an Early Cretaceous trackway, Cameros Basin (La Rioja, Spain)
Affiliation: Fundacion Patrimonio Paleontologico de La Rioja, La Rioja, Spain
Pages: 507-510
Published: 200706
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2007-059766
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., sketch map
N42°08'45" - N42°08'45", W02°15'46" - W02°15'46"
Secondary Affiliation: Universite Aix-Marseille, FRA, FranceUniversite de Nantes, FRA, FranceUniversity of Bridgeport, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200731
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