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Lines of Evidence
for Past Change

Stories from the fossil Record

3. Stories from Trace Fossils

Trace fossils are mostly structures produced by animal behavior. They include footprints, burrows, and coprolites (scat).

What can a single track tell us?

Not too much. We can infer something about the size of the animal and maybe something about the sediment. We may have a clue as to who made the track.

What can a trackway (a series of tracks or footprints) tell you?

  • Who was there.

  • How many animals were there.

  • The sizes of the animals compared to one another.

  • How they were interacting - social activity, such as herds, moving in families, etc.

  • How fast they were moving.

  • What the sediment was like, and therefore something about the environment of the time.

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