Fossil trackways in the Permian Coconino Sandstone, Northern Arizona: paleoenvironmental implications

Leonard Brand, P.h.D. Prof of Biology and Paleontology, Loma Linda University

Brand., L. R. 1979.  Field and laboratory studies on the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) fossil vertebrate footprints and their paleoecological implications.  Palaeogeog.  Palaeoclimat.  Palaeoecol., 28:25-38. (Download pdf here)

Brand 1979 was reprinted in: Terrestrial Trace Fossils.  W. A. S. Sarjeant, ed.,  Benchmark Papers in Geology, 76:126-139.

Brand, L. R. 1996. Variations in salamander trackways resulting from substrate differences. Jour. of Paleontol., 70:1004-1010. (Download pdf here)

Brand, L.R., and J. Kramer. 1996. Underprints of vertebrate and invertebrate trackways in the Permian Coconino Sandstone in Arizona. Ichnos, 4:225-230. (Download pdf here)



Brand, L. R. 1992. Reply to comments on "fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: evidence for underwater origin." Geology, 20:668-670. (Download pdf here)

Brand, L.R. and T. Tang. 1991. Fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone [Permian] of northern Arizona: evidence for underwater origin. Geology, 19:1201-1204. (Download pdf here)

Comments on this paper are in: Science News, 141 (4):5, 1992; Geology Today, 8 (3):78-79, 1992; and Nature, 355:110, 9 Jan., 1992.

Brand, L. R. & G. Dupper. 1982. Dental impression materials useful for making molds of fossils. Jour. Paleont., 56:1305-1307. (Download pdf here)

The Coconino Sandstone is the whitish cliff

The only fossils in the Coconino Sandstone are trace fossils. There are animal tracks, including vertebrates and invertebrates, and invertebrate burrows. The vertebrate tracks are quite abundant in some places, but their distribution is stratigraphically localized.

Many of the vertebrate trackways have unusual features, and an explanation is needed, for how these features could occur. A common feature is trackways with animals moving sideways. The diagram at left shows a normal vertebrate trackway (the vertical trackway) with the toe direction pointing approximately in the direction of movement. Fossil trackways occur in this form, and also in the other form shown here, with the toes pointing at nearly right angles to the direction of movement. No living vertebrate moves this way.


In the picture at the left, the toes on both front and back feet point up, while the trackway is progressing laterally; the toes point almost at right angles to the animal's direction of movement.

Return to:

[Earth and Biological Sciences Home page]


[Brand Home page]