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Open AccessArticle

Perennial Lakes as an Environmental Control on Theropod Movement in the Jurassic of the Hartford Basin

Center for Integrative Geosciences, University of Connecticut, 354 Mansfield Road, U-1045, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 500 Geology Physics Building, P.O. Box 210013, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA
Environmental Systems Graduate Group, University of California, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95340, USA
14 Carleton Street, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA
1476 Poquonock Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095, USA
Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3403, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Neil Donald Lewis Clark and Jesús Martínez Frías
Geosciences 2017, 7(1), 13;
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Middle Jurassic Dinosaurs in Context)
Eubrontes giganteus is a common ichnospecies of large dinosaur track in the Early Jurassic rocks of the Hartford and Deerfield basins in Connecticut and Massachusetts, USA. It has been proposed that the trackmaker was gregarious based on parallel trackways at a site in Massachusetts known as Dinosaur Footprint Reservation (DFR). The gregariousness hypothesis is not without its problems, however, since parallelism can be caused by barriers that direct animal travel. We tested the gregariousness hypothesis by examining the orientations of trackways at five sites representing permanent and ephemeral lacustrine environments. Parallelism is only prominent in permanent lacustrine rocks at DFR, where trackways show a bimodal orientation distribution that approximates the paleoshoreline. By contrast, parallel trackways are uncommon in ephemeral lacustrine facies, even at sites with large numbers of trackways, and those that do occur exhibit differences in morphology, suggesting that they were made at different times. Overall, the evidence presented herein suggests that parallelism seen in Hartford Basin Eubrontes giganteus is better explained as a response to the lake acting as a physical barrier rather than to gregariousness. Consequently, these parallel trackways should not be used as evidence to support the hypothesis that the trackmaker was a basal sauropodomorph unless other evidence can substantiate the gregariousness hypothesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: ichnology; theropod; gregarious; Early Jurassic; Newark Supergroup ichnology; theropod; gregarious; Early Jurassic; Newark Supergroup
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Getty, P.R.; Aucoin, C.; Fox, N.; Judge, A.; Hardy, L.; Bush, A.M. Perennial Lakes as an Environmental Control on Theropod Movement in the Jurassic of the Hartford Basin. Geosciences 2017, 7, 13.

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