Lecture.24

Lecture.24 - Ichnology What is ichnology? The study of...

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Ichnology
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What is ichnology? The study of trace fossils (non-body fossils such as footprints, trackways, burrows, feces, borings tooth marks, etc.) http://geology.wr.usgs.gov/king-sized-coprolite.html Fig. 26.3 of Chin (1997)
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A Grallator dinosaur track from Granby, MA. About 6 inches long. Possible crayfish burrows, Granby, MA
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What is the benefit of studying ichnology? It allows us to test hypotheses that have been generated from examinations of skeletons http://www.copyrightexpired.com/earlyimage/fjohn/series1/F_John_Series_1_Brontosaurus_card_25.jpg Note that this sauropod has a sprawling gait, like a lizard, and that others are swimming in a lake
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Problems with this interpretation: Footprints and trackways attributed to sauropods are narrow, indicating that they held their legs erect Footprints and skeletons of sauropods are found in terrestrial environments, not lacustrine or marine ones http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/images/BrontopodusSeismo.jpg
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http://internt.nhm.ac.uk/resources/nature-online/life/dinosaurs/dino-directory/drawing/Apatosaurus.jpg
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Ichnology offers insights that may not be available with only skeletal material: Skin texture posture Gregariousness Locomotor ability (swimming, running, etc.) Hunting or foraging behavior Reproductive behavior Substrate consistency at time of track production
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Furthermore, in areas like the Hartford and Deerfield basins, where skeletons are rare, trace fossils may provide the only evidence for past life
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Some historical background Native Americans and other native peoples have known about trace fossils for thousands of years In many cases, legends grew up around them It was not until the early 1800’s that footprints began too be studied by western scientists The first scientific study was conducted in England, but it was in the USA that the study of trace fossils was developed into a science
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The most important figure in developing
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course GEOL 111 taught by Professor Getty during the Fall '07 term at UConn.

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Lecture.24 - Ichnology What is ichnology? The study of...

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