Posted by: paulgarner | October 8, 2010

Dinosauromorphs in the Lower Triassic?

In January, I reported on the remarkable discovery of tetrapod tracks in Zachełmie, Poland, which pre-dated the first tetrapod body fossils by 18 million years C.G.D. (‘Conventional Geological Date’). Now Poland has done it again. Brusatte et al have described quadrupedal dinosauromorph tracks (ascribed to Prorotodactylus) from sediments in the Holy Cross Mountains thought to be five to nine million years older (C.G.D.) than those that yield the first dinosauromorph body fossils. In a BBC news item Mike Benton of Bristol University’s Palaeobiology Department sounded a cautionary note. “We’d rather have a skeleton because footprints are a little open to interpretation,” but adding, “I bet you if (he had found) a skeleton which was unequivocal it would have been a front page.”

Reference

Brusatte S. L., Niedźwiedzki G., Butler R. J. 2010. Footprints pull origin and diversification of dinosaur stem lineage deep into Early Triassic. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, published online before print October 6, 2010, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1746

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