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Schult & Farlow, 1992

Vertebrate Trace Fossils

Schult, M. F., Farlow, J. O.
AjakiriShort Courses in Paleontology
Kuulub kogumikkuMaples & West, 1992 (Eds)
Tüüpartikkel ajakirjas


The study of fossil footprints began soon after the birth of vertebrate paleontology. The Reverend Henry Duncan started a study of footprints from the New Red Sandstone (Permian) of Scotland in 1824 (Sarjeant, 1987). Even earlier reports of footprints are known, but the fossils were not studied until later (Sarjeant, 1975). The first experiment in making trackways occurred around 1830, when the Reverend William Buckland walked a turtle across pie crust, wet sand, and soft clay. Chirotherium, one of the most famous ichnogenera, was described by J. F. Kaup in 1835. In 1836, Edward Hitchcock published the first of many papers describing dinosaur and other footprints from the Triassic and Jurassic of the Connecticut Valley (Sarjeant, 1987). The first Carboniferous footprints were discovered in 1841 in Nova Scotia by William Logan, and provided the first evidence of terrestrial vertebrate life older than the New Red Sandstone (Sarjeant and Mossman, 1978). Tertiary footprints were described by Jules Desnoyers in 1859 (Sarjeant, 1987). Studies continued through the nineteenth and the first three decades of the twentieth centuries. Permian trackways from the Grand Canyon were found in 1915 and extensively described by Gilmore (Gilmore, 1926, 1927, 1928; Spamer, 1984). Soon after this, however, the study of vertebrate trace fossils fell into disrepute. In the last decade or two, a resurgence of interest has occurred, primarily spurred by an interest in using dinosaur footprints to learn more about these animals (Sarjeant, 1987).

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