Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Les traces de pas de Dinosaures et autres Archosaures du Lias inférieur des grands Causses, Sud de la France
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Small sauropod tracks in the Hettangian of Southern France – A case of ichnite fossilization in an intertidal zoneIntertidal zone; Lower Jurassic; Sauropods; Southern France; Tracks
This paper presents the description and the interpretation of recently discovered traces on a Lower Hettangian dolomitic outcrop in the Bédarieux area, Southern France. One trace set immediately attracted the attention by its resemblance to a small sauropod pes-manus couple but no trackway was visible. As the other traces have a variety of shapes with no obvious significance, it took a thorough examination of the 3D and sedimentological data to come to the conclusion that most traces likely were sauropod tracks made under diverse conditions. Sedimentological and ichnological data indicate that the tracks have been made in the intertidal zone of a carbonated tidal flat shortly before an emersion period. It appears that that the variety of trace shapes is due to a variety of water depths: the sauropods were punting when the water level was high. The lack of trackways seems due to the combination of an underprint situation, buoyancy effects and the small size of the track-bearing slab. Several hypotheses can be considered for explaining the very small size of the tracks, such as insular dwarfism or the immaturity of the trackmakers.