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Article: A new wide-gauge sauropod track site from the Late Cretaceous of Mendoza, Neuquén Basin, Argentina

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 52
Part: 3
Publication Date: May 2009
Page(s): 631 640
Author(s): Bernardo Javier González Riga and Jorge Orlando Calvo
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How to Cite

RIGA, B., CALVO, J. 2009. A new wide-gauge sauropod track site from the Late Cretaceous of Mendoza, Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Palaeontology52, 3, 631–640.

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Agua del Choique is a new Late Cretaceous sauropod track site from Mendoza Province, Neuquén Basin, Argentina. It is situated in the Loncoche Formation, late Campanian – early Maastrichthian in age, and is one of the youngest sauropod tracks site recorded in the world. Agua del Choique represents a lake setting and river-dominated delta deposits, and comprises at least 160 well-preserved tracks, located on a calcareous sandstone bed. A new ichnotaxon, Titanopodus mendozensis ichnogen. et ichnosp. nov., is erected for the footprints of this track site. Titanopodus mendozensis exhibits the following association of features: (1) wide-gauge trackway (manus and pes trackway ratios of 18–22 and 26–31 per cent respectively), (2) pronounced heteropody (manus-pes area ratio of 1:3), (3) outer limits of trackway defined, in some cases, by the manus tracks, and (4) manus impression with an asymmetrical crescent contour and acuminate external border. Titanopodus mendozensis is an excellent case study of the wide-gauge style of locomotion produced by Late Cretaceous derived titanosaurs that have no impression of manual phalanges. These features, and the fossil record from the Loncoche Formation, suggest that the trackmakers were, probably, middle size saltasaurine or aeolosaurine titanosaurs (14–16 m long).
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