Dinosaur Trackways Index

Footprint sites Brief Introduction
New South Wales
Western Australia: old sites
Western Australia: new sites

In contrast with its meagre dinosaur skeletal remains, Australia boasts some of the best, if not the best, dinosaur trackways in the world.

A dinosaur name based on footprints is known as an ichnogenus (plural: ichnogenera), or as a footprint taxon. Most footprint taxa have the suffix "opus" at the end of the generic (first) name, from the Greek for "foot". Footprint taxa are kept quite separate from those named from fossil skeletons, since it can never be proved which exact species of dinosaur made a particular footprint. Several species of dinosaur could have made similar shaped tracks that are considered a single ichnogenus, and the same dinosaur could have made several different ichnogenera of prints depending on how it was moving (walking or running in sand or mud).

The shape of dinosaur footprints can usually indicate which type of dinosaur made them. Theropod footprints are usually quite different to those made by ornithopds (generally longer toes, with a smaller angle of spread). A sauropod print is either round or U-shaped (depending on whether it was made by the hind foot or the fore foot), and usually very big (up to 1.7 metres or 5.5 feet in some Australian examples). Australia may have the only known examples of stegosaur foot prints. However many types of dinosaur are only known from fragmentary skeletons that may not include the feet. Pachycephalosaur ("thick headed reptile") foot bones are not known, so no-one would recognise one of their footprints if any were found.

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