Díaz-Martínez, I., Suarez-Hernando, O., Larrasoaña, J.C. et al. Multi-aged social behaviour based on artiodactyl tracks in an early Miocene palustrine wetland (Ebro Basin, Spain). Sci Rep 10, 1099 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-57438-4

Abstract

We present a new locality with at least 880 vertebrate tracks found at the top of a limestone bed from the lower Miocene Tudela Formation (Spain). The trampled surface was formed by artiodactyls that crossed a muddy carbonate accumulated under the influence of water level variations in a palustrine environment. The tracks reflect different types of morphological preservation. The well-preserved tracks have tetradactyl digit impressions caused by both manus and pes, and are the type series of a new artiodactyl ichnotaxon, Fustinianapodus arriazui ichnogen. nov. and ichnosp. nov. The rest of the tracks, which are not as well preserved, are didactyl and were classified as undetermined artiodactyl tracks. According to their preservation, morphology, size, arrangement and orientation, we propose that this tracksite is the product of a social behaviour, particularly gregariousness, of a multi-age group of artiodactyls ~19 Ma ago. The morphologic and palaeoecologic data presented here suggest that the trackmakers were a group of anthracotheres with a livelihood similar to current hippos. They crossed, periodically, a fresh water palustrine area along some preferential pathways (trails).

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