Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


AUCOIN, Christopher D., Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013 and HASBARGEN, Leslie, Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY College at Oneonta, 219 Science 1, Oneonta, NY 13820-4015,

Dinosaur tracks have long been studied as indicators of morphology, behavior and environmental conditions through both qualitative and mathematical means. In the past, tracks have been used to estimate the size and speed of the animal. Recently, some of the mathematical relationships relating track size to body size have been called into question (Bobo and Rainforth, 2010). With this in mind, we set out to create a digital map of dinosaur tracks in Holyoke, Massachusetts, one of just a handful of the dinosaur trackways that exist in the Eastern United States. We established ground control and spatial locations of close range handheld photographs with differential GPS and a reflectorless total station, and rectified the photographs into a georeferenced GIS environment. We then generated digital maps of the tracks from which measurements could be derived (Aucoin and Hasbargen, 2010). Several key results fall out of this method for mapping dinosaur footprints. Track size, shape and path direction are easy to measure and store as new data layers. Track quality comes to the forefront, as appearance ranges from distinct impressions to nebulous depressions. The digital environment facilitates ranking the quality of the data, and thus opens up further studies of track creation and taphonomy. We present here summaries of our efforts to detail track size, morphology, stride, and orientations. We will make preliminary environmental conclusions based on sedimentologic features mapped at the site. We will also compare our results with those published in Ostrom 1972. Our work highlights the value of studying dinosaur tracks in a digital spatially referenced environment.