Mystery Fossil Five comes from our very own Executive Officer, Tim Palmer. Tim took these pictures of a large vertebrate drag trace in Madagascar in 1984. The trace is on the surface of what appears to be an emergent carbonate mud bank, which also has dinosaur footprints. The sediments are certainly Middle Jurassic, probably Bajocian. Tim has no idea whether the mystery trace represents some sort of ‘normal’ behaviour of something dragging itself across the surface (turtle? other marine reptile?) or the ‘abnormal’ (injured) behaviour of something else. He thinks that the former is more likely as the trace is symmetrical. The kink at one end is where the beast swivelled and changed direction.
Take this opportunity of one-upmanship on the Association’s Executive Officer.
Update from Newsletter 62:
Phil Hadland (Bristol University) suggests that the weird traces shown in Mystery Fossil 5 were caused possibly by a tetrapod with a hip pathology dragging its splayed hind quarters forward using only its forelimbs in a shuffling motion. Intriguing, but perhaps untestable?