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 Volume 2 Chapter 11

Chapter  11

Dinosaur Footprints from the Lower Cretaceous, Bata Formation, Colombia (South America), and the Possible Interchange of Large Ornithopods between Southern Laurasia and Northern Gondwana​   

Leslie F. NOÈMarcela GÓMEZ–PÉREZ, José Vicente RODRÍGUEZ, Alejandro CORRALES-GARCÍA , and William G. CARANTON-MATEUS

https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.36.2019.11


ISBN impreso obra completa: 978-958-52959-1-9

ISBN digital obra completa: 978-958-52959-6-4

ISBN impreso Vol. 2: 978-958-52959-3-3

ISBN digital Vol. 2: 978-958-52959-8-8​


Citation is suggested as: 

Noè, L.F., Gómez–Pérez, M., Rodríguez, J.V., Corrales–García, A. & Caranton–Mateus, W.G. 2020. Dinosaur footprints from the Lower Cretaceous, Batá Formation, Colombia (South America), and the possible interchange of large ornithopods between southern Laurasia and northern Gondwana. In: Gómez, J. & Pinilla–Pachon, A.O. (editors), The Geology of Colombia, Volume 2 Mesozoic. Servicio Geológico Colombiano, Publicaciones Geológicas Especiales 36, p. 375–401. Bogotá. https://doi.org/10.32685/pub.esp.36.2019.11


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Abstract 


Dinosaur remains from northwestern South America are rare, with only extremely scarce fossil evidence recovered from Colombia. Here we report six dinosaur footprints preserved on a sub–vertical bedding plane of the upper Valanginian – lower Hauterivian Batá Formation, Santa María, Boyacá Department, Colombia. The Batá Formation consists of a thick succession of conglomerates and sandstones with shale intercalations interpreted as deposited along the palaeoshoreline of an epicontinental seaway. Four of the footprints form a trackway made by a single dinosaur, which is interpreted as a sub–adult ornithopod, estimated at 8 m in length, weighing around 2.5 metric tons, and travelling at an average walking speed of almost 5 km/h. The footprints are assigned to the ichnogenus Iguanodontipus, and were probably produced by an iguanodontian dinosaur. Prior to this work, Iguanodontipus was considered an exclusively European taxon, making this a unique record of the ichnogenus in Gondwana. The presence of Iguanodontipus in northern South America suggests an Early Cretaceous sweepstake, with dinosaurs crossing Tethys Ocean into modern–day northern Africa, and migrating along the northern shores of Gondwana into modern–day South America. Range extension of iguanodontian ornithopods southwards into Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous was apparently prevented by the Central Gondwana Desert Belt, possibly as a result of the palaeoecology of these dinosaurs, which seem to have had an affinity for environments rich in water and lush vegetation. A migration route across Tethys and the Central Gondwana Desert Belt helps explain similarities between northern Gondwanan and southern Laurasian dinosaurs, and the differences between northern and southern Gondwanan faunas, during the Early Cretaceous.

 

Keywords: dinosaur, ichnofossils, Lower Cretaceous, Gondwana, Laurasia, faunal interchange.​



Resumen 


Los restos de dinosaurio del noroeste de Suramérica son raros, con muy pocas evidencias fósiles recuperadas en Colombia. Aquí reportamos seis huellas de dinosaurio preservadas en una capa subvertical del Valanginiano superior–Hauteriviano inferior de la Formación Batá, Santa María, departamento de Boyacá, Colombia. La Formación Batá consiste en una secuencia espesa de conglomerados y areniscas con intercalaciones de lodolitas interpretadas como depósitos de la línea de costa de un antiguo mar epicontinental. Cuatro de las huellas forman una pista dejada por un único dinosaurio, interpretado como un ornitópodo subadulto, con una longitud estimada de 8 m, un peso de 2,5 toneladas métricas y que viajaba a un ritmo normal de casi 5 km/h. Las huellas se asignaron al icnogénero Iguanodontipus, y fueron probablemente hechas por un dinosaurio tipo iguanodontiano. Antes de este trabajo, Iguanodontipus se consideraba como un taxón exclusivamente europeo, por lo que este registro sería el único en Gondwana. La presencia de Iguanodontipus en el norte de Suramérica sugiere la existencia de una comunicación terrestre durante el Cretácico Temprano, con dinosaurios cruzando el océano Tetis hacia el norte de África actual, y migrando a lo largo de la costa norte de Gondwana hasta lo que hoy es Suramérica. La extensión del rango de los ornitópodos iguanodontes hasta el sur de Gondwana durante el Cretácico Temprano no ocurrió debido a la presencia del Cinturón del Desierto de Gondwana Central, posiblemente como un resultado de la paleoecología de los ornitópodos, los cuales tenían afinidad por el agua y la vegetación exuberante. Una ruta de migración a través del Tetis y una barrera en el Cinturón del Desierto de Gondwana Central explicarían las similitudes entre los dinosaurios del norte de Gondwana y el sur de Laurasia, y las diferencias entre las faunas de norte y sur de Gondwana, durante el Cretácico Temprano.

 

Palabras clave: dinosaurio, icnofósiles, Cretácico Inferior, Gondwana, Laurasia, intercambio faunístico.​


Abbreviations 


α, β, γ                                                         Divarication angles (between II–III, III–IV, II–IV (= total divarication) respectively)

A, B, C                                                      Anterior–most points of II, III, IV respectively

AC–G                                                          Alejandro CORRALES–GARCÍA

AT                                                                     Anterior triangle (triangle connecting points A, B, C)

ATh                                                                Anterior triangle height (length of the line passing through B and perpendicular to A–C)

ATw                                                             Anterior triangle width (length A–C)

Avg                                                                Average

BLII, BLIII, BLIV                        Length of toe free segment (A, B, C along lines A–F, B–F, C–F to the intersection with lines                                                                                                         through   D (perpendicular to A–F), D–E, E (perpendicular to C–F) respectively)

D, E                                                               Posteriormost points of hypices (between II–III, III–IV respectively)

DF (with number)            Río Batá dinosaur fooprints

F                                                                     Rear of metatarsophalangeal (“heel") pad impression (the posterior–most point of the footprint)

FA                                                                     Footprint axis (line B–F)

FL                                                                       Footprint length (distance B–F [≡ LIII])

FR                                                                     Footprint rotation (the angle between FA and TA)

FW                                                                  Footprint width (maximum width perpendicular to FL)

HH                                                                 Hip height (4 × FL)

II, III, IV                                                  Digit number (also prefixed by B)

JVR–J                                                                                 José Vicente RODRÍGUEZ

K, M                                                             “heel"–hypex lengths (D–F, E–F respectively)

LFN                                                               Leslie Francis NOÈ

LII, LIII, LIV                                      Digital lengths (lengths of II, III, and IV along A–F, B–F, and C–F respectively)

LIPs                                                              Large Igneous Provinces

MG–P                                                       Marcela GÓMEZ–PÉREZ

OAE                                                             Oceanic anoxic events

PA                                                                   Pace angulation (angle between points B of three consecutive footprints)

pCO2                                                         Partial pressures of carbon dioxide 

PL                                                                   Pace length (line joining points B of consecutive left and right footprints)

SGC                                                             Servicio Geológico Colombiano

SL                                                                 Stride length (the line joining points B on consecutive footprints on the same (left or right) side)

TA                                                                 Trackway axis (the line midway between the lateral–most points of the left and right footprints)

TTL                                                              Total trackway length (distance from F of DF1 to B of DF4)

TW                                                 External trackway width (distance between the lines joining the lateral–most point of the footprints                                                                             forming the trackway, and approximately parallel to TA) 

WBII, WBIII, WBIV             Width at base of free segment of toe (length of line passing through D perpendicular to A–F, D–                                                                                E, length of line passing through E perpendicular to C–F)

WGC–M                                                  William G. CARANTON–MATEUS 

WMII, WMIII, WMIII         Width at middle of free segment of toe (length half way between BLII, BLIII, BLIV, and                                                                                                                         perpendicular to A–F, B–F, C–F, respectively)


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