Ichnology . Ichnology is a subfield of geology that deals with traces of organismal activity. The area of ichnology concerned with trace fossils is paleoichnology. Plio-pleistocene ancient hominid footprints preserved in volcanic ash at Laetoli in Tanzania, Africa. . So why is it useful?.
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Ichnology is a subfield of geology that deals with traces of organismal activity.
The area of ichnology concerned with trace fossils is paleoichnology.
Plio-pleistocene ancient hominid footprints preserved in volcanic ash at Laetoli in Tanzania, Africa.
Paleontologists use ichnology to decode the possible anatomy and behavior of trace-making fossils even if no body fossils can be found.
Protichnites, an ichnogenus of
arthropod walking activity found
in central Wisconsin in Late
There are several types of organismal traces that can be fossilized. Examples include:
Climatichnites fossilized burrow from Central Wisconsin, Late Cambrian.
Coprolites, or fossilized dung. Coprolites are valuable because they give information on the diet and behavior of instinct animals, rather than just morphological information.
Coprolite of carnivorous dinosaur, found in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada.
Because trace fossils cannot always be positively identified to the species that produced them, they are given scientific nomenclature separate from morphologically classified species. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature defines an ichnospecies as a “taxon based on the fossilized work of an organism.” They are given an italicized Latin genus and species name with the prefix “ichno-” added for clarity.
Footprint of ichnogenus Grallator, a bipedal theropod dinosaur that roamed Pangaea in the Late Triassic and early Jurassic.
Below are examples of Repichnia.
The ichnospecies Anomoepusgracillimus, a set of footprints found in the Late Triassic beds of the Connecticut River Valley, Massachussets