Dinosaur track assemblages from the Hettangian of Poland

Gerard Gierliński, Grzegorz Pieńkowski

Abstract


Almost all dinosaur tracks in Poland come from three lowermost formations of the Lower Jurassic in the Holy Cross Mountains: Zagaje Formation, Skloby Formation and Przysucha Ore-Bearing Formation. Floristic remains and sequence stratigraphy correlation indicate the Hettangian age of all three formations. They represent various continental and marginal-marine environments. Fluvial and lacustrine sediments dominate in the continental Zagaje Formation, while the nearshore and deltaic facies are dominant in the two overlying formations. Various ornithischian, sauropod and theropod tracks occur in these sediments. Parallel sauropod trackways reported herein are the earliest record of sauropod gregarious behavior. Moreover, the present paper summarises and systematises the whole existing material, addressing the ichnosystematic and preservational aspects. Dinosaur tracks assemblages are assigned to three parts of the lithostratigraphical succession in which they occur and are discussed against their palaeoenvironmental background. Two general assemblages are distinguished: lower Zagaje assemblage of an inland, humid habitat with both low-and high-growing vegetation, dominated by high browsing herbivores (sauropod trackmakers of Parabrontopodus) and medium-to large-sized predators (theropod trackmakers of Anchisauripus and Kayentapus), and upper Zagaje-Skloby-Przysucha assemblage, representing deltaic plain-shoreline habitats with low, dense vegetation, dominated by low browsing herbivores (ornithischian trackmakers of Anomoepus and Moyenisauropus), associated by small-to medium-sized predators (theropod trackmakers of Grallator and Anchisauripus). Dinosaur ichnofauna from Poland rather poorly reflects biostratigraphical vertebrate faunal change in Early Jurassic time, but it does reflect environmental and biogeographical differences quite well. The discussed data imply also a high dinosaur phylogenetical diversity as early as in the Hettangian age.


Keywords


Poland; Early Jurassic; dinosaur tracks; ichnotaxonomy; palaeoenvironmental background

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