LET’S GO TRACKING IN THE JURASSIC: FOSSIL FOOTPRINTS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
Associate Professor Emese Bordy, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town
Tuesday 10 January
COURSE FEES R110
The Karoo’s world-famous rocks provide a record of environmental change in the deep past from land of ice during glacial conditions to a land of fire that was covered by extensive sheets of lava flows. The youngest Karoo rocks are Jurassic and document the early evolution of dinosaurs and mammals in the form of skeletal remains and trace fossils, ichnofossils. These include trails, footprints, trackways and burrows of animals, which are essentially the petrified behaviour of an organism. The exceptional diversity of Jurassic fossils allows not only the identification of unique prehistoric animals, but also a rare insight into the intricate behaviour of ancient animal communities that lived in the Karoo around 200 million years ago.
This lecture will show how simple, but meticulous field observations of rock features can be powerful in reconstructing the behaviour and living conditions of long-gone creatures, including some of the renowned dinosaurs of southern Africa.
McCarthy, T. and Rubidge, B. 2005. The Story of Earth and Life – A South African Perspective on a 4.6 Billion Year Journey. Cape Town: Struik.
MacRae, C. 1999. Life etched in stone: fossils of South Africa. Johannesburg: Geological Society of South Africa.