Jump to Main Content
Soft-sediment deformation below mammoth tracks at White Sands National Monument (New Mexico) with implications for biomechanical inferences from tracks
- Bennett, Matthew R., Bustos, David, Belvedere, Matteo, Martinez, Patrick, Reynolds, Sally C., Urban, Tommy
- Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 v.527 pp. 25-38
- animals, biomechanics, deformation, monuments, sediments, shear strength, stratigraphy, topology, New Mexico
- Implicit in any biomechanical analysis of tracks (footprints), whatever the animal, is the assumption that depth distribution within the track reflects the applied plantar pressure in some way. Here we describe sub-track deformation structures produced by Proboscidea (probably Mammuthus columbi) at White Sands National Monument (WHSA) in New Mexico. Patterns of sub-surface deformation are consistent with the plantar pressure data for modern Proboscidea, but do not reflect track morphology. Our work cautions against overinterpreting track topology of any large animal, including extinct animals such as sauropods, in terms of their biomechanics unless the subsurface stratigraphy and associated variation in shear strength is known.