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The oldest evidence for birds in Northern Gondwana? Small tridactyl footprints from the Middle Jurassic of Msemrir (Morocco)

The oldest evidence for birds in Northern Gondwana? Small tridactyl footprints from the Middle Jurassic of Msemrir (Morocco)
The oldest evidence for birds in Northern Gondwana? Small tridactyl footprints from the Middle Jurassic of Msemrir (Morocco)
We revise a famous set of fossil footprints that were described in the mid-1980s from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) of Morocco and that have often been considered to be an early record for Mesozoic birds. If correct, these tracks are the oldest records of birds from Gondwana and would have critical biogeographic and palaeobiological implications. The oldest skeletal fossils of avians are from the Late Jurassic of Germany (Laurasia). Thus, these important historical footprints are re-described and re-examined and new analyses are carried out on the additional tracks that also occur on the surface but that have never been described before. All the tracks on the surface show the same morphological characteristics, though their size is variable, and are compared here to known dinosaur and bird ichnotaxa. We used a laser scanner to generate a 3D digital model of the slab; this new approach allowed detailed descriptions of the specimens, the identification of new footprints on the surface, and the conclusion that they were likely left by non-avian dinosaurs (rather than birds). We show the potential of this new approach to the study of fossil footprints and trackways; high-resolution imaging and laser scanning add new information fundamental for a revision of the criteria for distinguishing between closely-related vertebrate groups, in this case dinosaurs and birds.
Theropod tracks, Bird tracks, Middle Jurassic, Morocco, Laser scanner, 3D reconstruction
1342-937X
542-549
Belvedere, Matteo
23ac8111-9149-46b2-ad7f-d5ed075e1ff2
Dyke, Gareth
600ca61e-b40b-4c86-b8ae-13be4e331e94
Hadri, Majid
26418fa7-9a19-4b16-a2f1-392d5b32ed98
Ishigaki, Shinobu
473e5900-23ad-4fce-96d3-6ae74bdb52be
Belvedere, Matteo
23ac8111-9149-46b2-ad7f-d5ed075e1ff2
Dyke, Gareth
600ca61e-b40b-4c86-b8ae-13be4e331e94
Hadri, Majid
26418fa7-9a19-4b16-a2f1-392d5b32ed98
Ishigaki, Shinobu
473e5900-23ad-4fce-96d3-6ae74bdb52be

Belvedere, Matteo, Dyke, Gareth, Hadri, Majid and Ishigaki, Shinobu (2011) The oldest evidence for birds in Northern Gondwana? Small tridactyl footprints from the Middle Jurassic of Msemrir (Morocco). Gondwana Research, 19 (2), 542-549. (doi:10.1016/j.gr.2010.08.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We revise a famous set of fossil footprints that were described in the mid-1980s from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) of Morocco and that have often been considered to be an early record for Mesozoic birds. If correct, these tracks are the oldest records of birds from Gondwana and would have critical biogeographic and palaeobiological implications. The oldest skeletal fossils of avians are from the Late Jurassic of Germany (Laurasia). Thus, these important historical footprints are re-described and re-examined and new analyses are carried out on the additional tracks that also occur on the surface but that have never been described before. All the tracks on the surface show the same morphological characteristics, though their size is variable, and are compared here to known dinosaur and bird ichnotaxa. We used a laser scanner to generate a 3D digital model of the slab; this new approach allowed detailed descriptions of the specimens, the identification of new footprints on the surface, and the conclusion that they were likely left by non-avian dinosaurs (rather than birds). We show the potential of this new approach to the study of fossil footprints and trackways; high-resolution imaging and laser scanning add new information fundamental for a revision of the criteria for distinguishing between closely-related vertebrate groups, in this case dinosaurs and birds.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: March 2011
Keywords: Theropod tracks, Bird tracks, Middle Jurassic, Morocco, Laser scanner, 3D reconstruction
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 201167
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/201167
ISSN: 1342-937X
PURE UUID: 4898ac6e-3a7f-4e3f-922d-bcb081281b4d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Oct 2011 16:09
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:13

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