Sauropod trackways of the Iberian Peninsula: palaeoetological and palaeoenvironmental implications

D. Castanera, B. Vila, N.L. Razzolini, V.F Santos, C. Pascual, J.I. Canudo


More than a hundred sauropod tracksites, ranging in age from Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) to Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian), are repor­ted from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Sauropod trackway orientation patterns throughout an entire geographic area such as the Iberian Peninsula and over different time periods may provide new data about the palaeoecology and behavioural patterns of sauropods. The studied tracksites exhibit two main trackway orientation patterns, directional and random, indicating different behaviours in grega­rious or solitary (milling) individuals. Gregarious behavioural patterns are mainly observed within Parabrontopodus/Breviparopus-like and Brontopodus-like ichnotypes of a single size class (either small or medium-sized), indicating age segregation. Among the gregarious sauropods the former ichnotype is linked with inland environments, while the latter is mainly linked with coastal environments. Solitary trackways are mainly of medium-sized to large individuals, are also linked with both inland (Parabrontopodus/Breviparopus-like) and coastal environments (Parabrontopodus/Breviparopus-like, Brontopodus-like), and belong to the above-mentioned ichnotypes as well as to Polyonyx-like ichnotypes. Thus, no obvious link between gregarious behaviour and the palaeoenvironmental setting can be inferred from the sauropod track record of the Iberian Peninsula. Nonetheless, sauropod trackways showing titanosauriform characters (Brontopodus-like) are more common in coastal environments, contrary to what might be expected given this group’s apparent taxonomic preference for inland environments.

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Journal of Iberian Geology
ISSN 1698-6180
ISSN-e 1886-7995

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