Abstract

The late Albian Solaris dinosaur tracksite in Istria (Croatia), which is characterized by an abundance of theropod and sauropod footprints, was surveyed using a combination of GNSS georeferencing, terrestrial laser scanning, and photogrammetry. The entire outcrop was digitally captured with millimeter-scale resolution and high spatial accuracy, allowing both outcrop-scale observations and analysis of fine morphological features at the scale of individual footprints. Quantitative ichnological data acquired from the digital model is equivalent to published results based on traditional methods. Inspection of the digital outcrop model has revealed a number of new tridactyl footprints previously undocumented at the Solaris tracksite. All of the newly identified prints are exceptionally shallow and bear characteristics typical of medium-sized bipedal theropod dinosaurs. The study testifies to how approaches involving digital modelling are able to supplement and improve upon traditional methods of field observation and help revise previous ichnological studies. They can be a particularly effective solution for studying complex, heavily trampled tracksites with highly variable print depths and preservation.

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