Friday, February 10, 2017

Evidence of a Hopping, Bipedal Mammaliform From Cretaceous Korea

Korean trackway of a hopping, mammaliform trackmaker is global first from the Cretaceous


Kim et al


A trackway of a small hopping mammaliform trackmaker from the Jinju Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Jinju City area, Korea, is the first of this type reported from the Mesozoic of Asia, and globally. The animal left a narrow trackway (∼20 mm wide) with small tetradactyl footprints averaging less than 10 mm in diameter. Only two footprints registered with each hop (mean length 41 mm) thus indicating a bipedal gait. All trackway evidence suggests a small “mouse-like” trackmaker. Previous reports of trackways made by hopping tetrapods from the Mesozoic are rare and presently restricted to ichnogenus Ameghinichnus isp. indet., from the Jurassic of Argentina. Ichnogenus Musaltipes from the Cenozoic of North America, is the only other ichnogenus representing a hopping mammal. The Korean specimen here named Koreasaltipes jinjuensis, is different from these aforementioned ichnogenera in digit count, digit proportion and trackway configuration, as well as lack of tail trace. Koreasaltipes jinjuensis is from a lake shore paleoenvironment associated with nematode tracks (Cochlichnus isp.), other small tetrapod tracks attributed to avian theropods (birds), pterosaurs and crocodylomorphs, as well as larger saurischian dinosaurs.

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