An Important Ornithischian Tracksite in the Early Jurassic of the Shenmu Region, Shaanxi, China

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    A large track site with multiple, well-preserved trackways of an Early Jurassic quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaur is the first report of Moyenisauripus-like trackways from Asia, herein named Shenmuichnus youngteilhardorum. The tracks occur in a clastic fluvial sequence in the Fuxian Formation in Shenmu County, Shaanxi Province, which is in the same general region as the discovery site of Sinoichnites,the first dinosaur track reported from China. Based on size and morphology, it is likely that Sinoichnites, which is now lost, also represents an ornithischian. The Shenmuichnus youngteilhardorum trackways show two modes of preservation: the first representing deeper tracks, with sediment rims, results in Deltapodus-like tracks, with indistinct pes digit traces and sub-circular manus traces, the second produces Moyenosauripus-like tracks, with clear tridactyl and pentadactyl digit traces in the pes and manus respectively. Thus the Shenmu trackways play a key role in resolving globally significant ichnotaxonomic problems surrounding the nomenclature of Sinoichnites, Moyenosauripus, Deltapodus and other named (Ravatichnus) and unnamed trackways from Asia, Africa and Europe. In addition they shed important light on the paleogeographical and paleoecological distribution of quadrupedal ornithischians in the Early Mesozoic. The track site has been the focus of a major excavation to transfer the trackways from their original remote location to the new Shenmu Museum, in Shenmu City. Other tracksites in the area which reveal Anomoepus, Grallator and the Deltapodus morphotype, together with Shenmuichnus and plant fossil evidence, suggest an Early Jurassic age for the tracksite.

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LI Jianjun, Martin G. LOCKLEY, ZHANG Yuguang, HU Songmei, MATSUKAWA Masaki, BAI Zhiqiang.2012. An Important Ornithischian Tracksite in the Early Jurassic of the Shenmu Region, Shaanxi, China[J]. Acta Geologica Sinica(),86(1):1-10

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  • Received:November 05,2010
  • Revised:April 13,2011
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