Field of Science

New Triassic Trackway from Switzerland


Cavin, L., Avanzini, M., Bernardi, M., Piuz, A., Proz, P.-A., Meister, C., Boissonnas, J., and C. A. Meyer. 2012. New vertebrate trackway from the autochthonous cover of the Aiguilles Rouges Massif and reevaluation of the dinosaur record in the Valais, SW Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology [online first] DOI: 10.1007/s13358-012-0040-0

Abstract - A new tracksite located in the Mesozoic autochthonous series covering the Aiguilles Rouges Massif, circa 7 km to the NNE of the tracksite of the Vieux Emosson, is briefly described. The trampled bed is most likely coeval with the outcrop in the Vieux Emosson area. Two poorly preserved quadrupedal trackways, almost parallel, measure 9.8 and 8 m in length, respectively. They are referred to the Chirotheriidae ABEL, 1835 form-family. A short and well-preserved quadrupedal trackway, composed of two manus-pes couples, is assigned to Chirotherium cf. barthii KAUP, 1835. A reinterpretation of the Vieux Emosson ichnotaxa reveals that most tracks, if not all, belong to indeterminate chirotheriid and that no clear evidence of dinosaur footprints is observed. The trampled bed of the cover of the Aiguilles Rouges Massif probably forms a megatracksite, which is Early or Middle Triassic in age.  

Could it Be? An Non-Archosaurian Archosauriform that is Actually a Dinosaur?

The past eight years have seen quite a few cases where purported Triassic dinosaurs actually turned out to be non-dinosaurian archosauriforms...Revueltosaurus, Shuvosaurus, Azendohsaurus... finally the dinosaurs get one back. Moreover there are no Jurassic or Chinese phytosaur specimens. 

Barrett, P. M., and X. Xu. 2012. The enigmatic reptile Pachysuchus imperfectus Young, 1951 from the lower Lufeng Formation (Lower Jurassic) of Yunnan, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 50:151-159. [Free download here]

Abstract - Phytosaurs are generally considered to have become extinct at the end of the Triassic Period, but several records have suggested that they survived into the basal Jurassic in Europe and Asia. The Asian record consists of Pachysuchus imperfectus from the lower Lufeng Formation (?Hettangian-Sinemurian) of Yunnan, China. However, this specimen differs from phytosaurs in numerous aspects and is more likely a poorly preserved, indeterminate sauropodomorph dinosaur skull. The referred specimens of this species are also regarded as indeterminate, thereby removing the post-Triassic record of phytosaurs from Asia. The European records of Jurassic phytosaurs are also shown to be doubtful, suggesting that this clade was restricted to the Late Triassic. 

Neotype Proposal for Anchisaurus polyzelus


Galton, P.M. 2012. Case 3561 Anchisaurus Marsh, 1885 (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha): proposed conservation of usage by designation of a neotype for its type species Megadactylus polyzelus Hitchcock, 1865. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 69 (1): 44-50.



Abstract - The purpose of this application, under Article 75.5 of the Code, is to conserve the usage of the name Anchisaurus Marsh, 1885 (Lower Jurassic, Connecticut Valley, northeastern U.S.A.) that is based on Megadactylus polyzelus Hitchcock, 1865. It is proposed to replace the fragmentary and non-diagnostic holotype of M. polyzelus with a diagnostic neotype, an almost complete skull and skeleton (YPM 1883, holotype of A. colurus Marsh, 1891). This specimen has formed the basis for the concept of Anchisaurus, the first basal sauropodomorph genus from the U.S.A. and still the best represented from there since it was illustrated by Marsh (1892, 1893), and of A. polyzelus since it was illustrated by Galton (1976). Anchisaurus is the basis for ANCHISAURIDAE Marsh, 1885, the first basal sauropodomorph family to be named, and for the Anchisauria Galton & Upchurch, 2004.

First Multi-taxic Multi-component Ornithischian and Sauropodomorph Dinosaur Bonebed from the Upper Triassic of North America


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Just kidding...

Happy April 1 everyone!