Triassic tetrapod ichnofossils from Italy: the state of the art

Paolo Mietto, Marco Avanzini, Matteo Belvedere, Massimo Bernardi, Fabio Marco Dalla Vecchia, Simone D'Orazi Porchetti, Piero Gianolla, Fabio Massimo Petti


We provided here the most complete census of the Italian Triassic tetrapod ichnosites ever published based on an extensive literature review, integrated with previously unpublished data. Most ichnosites are located in the Southern Alps but track-bearing localities are also described in the Western Alps and in Northern Apennines. The stratigraphic distribution of tetrapod footprints can be framed in two macro-sets.

A first set ranges from the late Early Triassic (Olenekian) to the Middle Triassic (Late Anisian, Illyrian) where ichnoassociations are dominated by lizard-like footprints (e.g. Rhynchosauroides isp.) with gradual increase through time of footprints referable to crurotarsal archosaurs (e.g. chirotheriids).

After a hiatus ranging up to the basal part of the Carnian (basal Julian), a second set of ichnoassociations spreads the whole Late Triassic. This second set is dominated by crurotarsal footprints from its base but, in correspondence with the abrupt global climate of the Carnian Pluvial Episode, shows a marked shift to dinosaur-footprints dominance.


Ichnology; Tetrapod footprints; Triassic; Southern Alps; Western Alps; Northern Apennines; Italy

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Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Mediterranean Earth Sciences

ISSN Online: 2280-6148
ISSN Print: 2037-2272