Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Amazing Dinosaur Tracks of Broome

By John Long

The discovery of a diverse range of dinosaur tracks fills in a huge gap that tells us what kinds of dinosaurs once inhabited Australia during the first quarter of the Cretaceous period.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In March, a landmark publication in Australian palaeontology was published – 152 page monograph in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology supplement series detailing over 20 species of different dinosaur trackways left in130-million-year-old coastal sandstones exposed from Broome to the lower Dampier Peninsula (http://tinyurl.com/mqansao).

Dr Steven Salisbury and his team of students at The University of Queensland have been working the sites since 2011 to map and capture the footprints using a variety of modern approaches, such as drones for accurate aerial photography of the trackways, which are often only exposed for brief times at low tides. The use of colour photogrammetry to bring the prints to life in stunning 3D is a visual highlight of the work.

In all they have recognised a range of trackways belonging to as many as 21 different dinosaurs, with six new track types formally named. Among these are a theropod trackways (Yangtzepus), a new sauropod track (Oobardjidama) and two taxa belonging to thyreophorans (Garbina, Luluichnus), a group containing well-known ankylosaurs and stegosaurs.

The work is careful not to overstep the mark and give new names to every different trackway. The giant sauropod trackways are thus represented by one new named type and five other...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.