Novel track morphotypes from new tracksites indicate increased Middle Jurassic dinosaur diversity on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Paige Depolo, Steve Brusatte, Tom Challands, Davide Foffa, Mark Wilkinson, Neil D. L. Clark, Jon Hoad, Paulo Victor Luiz Gomes da Costa Pereira, Dugald A. Ross, Tom Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dinosaur fossils from the Middle Jurassic are rare globally, but the Isle of Skye (Scotland, UK) preserves a varied dinosaur record of abundant trace fossils and rare body fossils from this time. Here we describe two new tracksites from Rubha nam Brathairean (Brothers’ Point) near where the first dinosaur footprint in Scotland was found in the 1980s. These sites were formed in subaerially exposed mudstones of the Lealt Shale Formation of the Great Estuarine Group and record a dynamic, subtropical, coastal margin. These tracksites preserve a wide variety of dinosaur track types, including a novel morphotype for Skye: Deltapodus which has a probable stegosaur trackmaker. Additionally, a wide variety of tridactyl tracks shows evidence of multiple theropods of different sizes and possibly hints at the presence of large-bodied ornithopods. Overall, the new tracksites show the dinosaur fauna of Skye is more diverse than previously recognized and give insight into the early evolution of major dinosaur groups whose Middle Jurassic body fossil records are currently sparse.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0229640
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2020

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