Skip to main content

3-D radar imaging unlocks the untapped behavioral and biomechanical archive of Pleistocene ghost tracks.

Urban, T.M., Bennett, M. R., Bustos, D., Manning, S.W., Reynolds, S. C., Belvedere, M., Odess, D. and Santucci, V.L., 2019. 3-D radar imaging unlocks the untapped behavioral and biomechanical archive of Pleistocene ghost tracks. Scientific Reports, 9, 16470.

Full text available as:

[img]
Preview
PDF
s41598-019-52996-8.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

2MB

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-52996-8

Abstract

Footprint evidence of human-megafauna interactions remains extremely rare in the archaeological and palaeontological records. Recent work suggests ancient playa environments may hold such evidence, though the prints may not be visible. These so-called "ghost tracks" comprise a rich archive of biomechanical and behavioral data that remains mostly unexplored. Here we present evidence for the successful detection and 3-D imaging of such footprints via ground-penetrating radar (GPR), including co-associated mammoth and human prints. Using GPR we have found that track density and faunal diversity may be much greater than realized by the unaided human eye. Our data further suggests that detectable subsurface consolidation below mammoth tracks correlates with typical plantar pressure patterns from extant elephants. This opens future potential for more sophisticated biomechanical studies on the footprints of other extinct land vertebrates. Our approach allows rapid detection and documentation of footprints while enhancing the data available from these fossil archives.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:2045-2322
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33082
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:29 Nov 2019 14:28
Last Modified:29 Nov 2019 17:06

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -