Thursday, July 23, 2009

ichnotaxonomy and paleoecology

Although body fossils of shorebirds and shorebird-like species are extremely rare from the Cretaceous, rapid increase in the discovery of bird footprint sites provides valuable alternate evidence to help fill gaps in the story of the early evolution of shorebird-like species. Newly discovered bird tracks from the Albian-Cenomanian Dakota Formation in northeastern Utah represent the first report of the ichnogenus Koreanaornis from North America and only the second report of bird tracks from this formation. These tracks are not attributable to Aquatilavipes as previously claimed. Three well-preserved trackways are described and provisionally referred to Koreanaornis cf. hamanensis (Kim). However, a review of the ichnotaxonomy of shorebird ichnites reveals that this ichnotaxon also closely resembles the Miocene ichnospecies Avipeda sirin (Vyalov). This latter comparison points to the need for a thorough evaluation of the similarity between Mesozoic and Cenozoic avian ichnotaxa, which may be over-split in some cases and under-differentiated in others.

The new material helps distinguish ichnogenus Koreanaornis from the larger bird track Aquatilavipes, which is more abundant and widespread in North America. In some cases Aquatilavipes has been incorrectly used as a catch-all ichnogenus both in North America and Asia. The Dakota Formation stratigraphy at the tracksite indicates that the track makers lived in a marginal marine paleoenvironment. However, despite the widespread distribution of such facies, often replete with dinosaur tracks, the bird track record of the Dakota Formation, and the Cretaceous of the western USA remains relatively sparse in comparison with other areas such as east Asia.

Author Affiliation:

(a) Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

(b) Dinosaur Tracks Museum, CB 172, University of Colorado at Denver, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA

(c) Department of Earth Science Education, Korea National University of Education, Cheongwon, Chungbuk 363-791, Korea

(d) Department of Science Education, Chinju National University of Education, Shinan-dong, Jinju, Kyungnam 660-756, Korea

Article History:

Received 27 May 2008; Accepted 2 February 2009

Source Citation:Anfinson, Owen A., Martin G. Lockley, Sam Hyang Kim, Kyung Soo Kim, and Jeong Yul Kim. "First report of the small bird track Koreanaornis from the Cretaceous of North America: implications for avian ichnotaxonomy and paleoecology.(Report)." Cretaceous Research 30.4 (August 2009): 885(10). Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 23 July 2009


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