Episode 475: Dino Hint Fossils Half 1: Exploring Paleo-Footprints

Episode 475: Dino Hint Fossils Half 1: Exploring Paleo-Footprints. For millennia, hint fossils have captivated the human creativeness. Australian Aboriginal mythology contains dinosaur tracks. Leonardo da Vinci made main contributions to early ichnology. At present we nonetheless discover new hint fossils hiding in plain sight.


Dinosaurs left behind greater than their bones. They left behind their marks (actually). There are traces of them in every single place—tracks, trails (trails are like tracks, however extra irregular—left by snails or worms crawling, by jellyfish dragging tentacles, or markings left by crustaceans or sea urchins), burrows, nests, eggs, tooth marks, and even their poop and vomit. All of this stuff (generally known as ichnofossils or hint fossils) give us clues into how they lived and the way they behaved

Scientists research these traces (it’s generally known as ichnology)

Hint fossils symbolize an animal interacting with one thing (the bottom, crops, and even different animals) They’ll inform us how an animal moved (did they stroll, crawl, run, swim?), the place it lived, particulars about breeding and nesting and possibly hibernating, how and what it consumed (if a predator, what was its tempo when chasing, or how did a prey animal act after an assault?)

Traces aren’t restricted to only dinos: trilobites, crabs, centipedes, millipedes, worms and extra can go away proof

We had a lot of sources for this two-part episode, just a few particularly good ones for getting began on ichnology:

  • The e book “Hint Fossils: Ideas, Issues, Prospects” edited by William Miller III supply
  • The e book “Hint Fossils as Indicators of Sedimentary Environments”, edited by Dirk Knaust and Richard G. Bromley (good intro, and contains the historical past of the research of ichnofossils) supply
  • The e book “Ichnology: Organism-Substrate Interactions in House and Time” by Luis A. Buatois and M. Gabriela Mangano (has a great intro on what ichnology is) supply
  • The e book “Dinosaurs With out Bones” by Anthony J. Martin (talks concerning the traces dinosaurs particularly left behind, and doubtless was my first introduction to ichnology, after I learn the e book once we had been first beginning the podcast—we interviewed Anthony approach again in episode 2, and lately remastered the episode) supply

We’ve additionally talked rather a lot about ichnology discoveries and scientific research through the years, so we can be revisiting/highlighting just a few all through these subsequent couple episodes. Don’t fear, may also be speaking about some new papers too


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The dinosaur of the day: Talenkauen

  • Iguanodont that lived within the Late Cretaceous in what’s now Santa Cruz Province, Argentina (Cerro Fortaleza Formation)
  • Just like Dryosaurus however barely bigger and with a proportionally longer neck
  • Had an extended tail, shorter arms than legs, a small head
  • Small and walked on two legs
  • Estimated to be 13 ft (4 m) lengthy, although Gregory Paul estimated it to be 15 ft (4.7 m) lengthy and weigh 660 lb (300 kg)
  • Had a comparatively small head
  • Had a slender humerus (higher arm bone)
  • Humerus (arm bone) had lowered areas for muscle attachment, like different ornithopods present in South America, like Notohypsilophodon and Anabisetia
  • Had tooth within the tip of its beak and had a primary toe, not like later iguanodontians (solely had the three center toes)
  • Had easy, egg-shaped plates on the facet of the rib cage that had been lengthy (7 in or 180 mm) however skinny (solely 3 mm thick)
  • Different dinosaurs have comparable plates, like Hypsilophodon and Thescelosaurus
  • Too skinny to assist with protection
  • Fossils present in 2000
  • Kind and solely species is Talenkauen santacrucensis
  • Named from a comparatively full, articulated skeleton that’s lacking the again of the cranium, the tail, and the fingers
  • Described in 2004 by Fernando Novas and others
  • Genus identify means “small cranium”
  • Species identify refers back to the province the place it was discovered
  • Bone fragments and tooth discovered close to the holotype, that are doubtless from a lately hatched Talenkauen
  • First hatchling ornithopod found within the southern hemisphere
  • Had put on on the tooth, which suggests it had eaten and had hatched (wasn’t an embryo)
  • Doable the grownup took care of the newborn, however unclear
  • Different dinosaurs that lived across the similar time and place embody the titanosaur Puertasaurus and the theropod Orkoraptor

Enjoyable Reality:

Determining which dinosaurs left particular tracks is extremely tough, however AI may also help remedy the thriller.

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