Late Jurassic globetrotters compared: A closer look at large and giant theropod tracks of North Africa and Europe

Matteo Belvedere, D. Castanera, Christian A. Meyer, Daniel Marty, Octavio Mateus, Bruno Camilo Silva, Vanda F. Santos, Alberto Cobos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Late Jurassic theropod tracks are very common both in North Africa and Europe. Two recently described ichnotaxa Megalosauripus transjuranicus and Jurabrontes curtedulensis from the Kimmeridgian of Switzerland show the coexistence of two apex predators in the same palaeoenvironment. Similar tracks can be found in tracksites from the Iberian Peninsula and from Morocco. Here, we further explore the similarities among the Swiss ichnotaxa and the other tracks from Germany (Kimmeridgian), Spain (Tithonian-Berriasian), Portugal (Oxfordian-Tithonian) and Morocco (Kimmeridgian) through novel three-dimensional data comparisons. Specimens were grouped in two morphotypes: 1) large and gracile (30 < Foot Length<50 cm) and 2) giant and robust (FL > 50 cm). The analyses show a great morphological overlap among these two morphotypes and the Swiss ichnotaxa (Megalosauripus transjuranicus and Jurabrontes curtedulensis, respectively), even despite the differences in sedimentary environment and age. This suggests a widespread occurrence of similar ichnotaxa along the western margin of Tethys during the Late Jurassic. The new data support the hypothesis of a Gondwana-Laurasia faunal exchange during the Middle or early Late Jurassic, and the presence of migratory routes around the Tethys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103547
JournalJournal Of African Earth Sciences
Volume158
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Digital ichnology
  • Ichnotaxonomy
  • Late Jurassic
  • Palaeobiogeography
  • Theropod
  • Vertebrate tracks

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