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Paleoenvironments: Vertebrates and Invertebrates

New Record of Proboscidean Fossil Tracks in the
Pleistocene of Central México
José Rubén Guzmán-Gutiérrez, Felisa J. Aguilar, Rubén A.
Rodríguez-de la Rosa, and Oscar J. Polaco
The fossil record of vertebrate tracks in México is still too meager; however,
it preserves a great diversity of forms ranging in age from middle Jurassic to
Pleistocene (Rodriguez-de la Rosa et al. 2004). The first and more ancient
record corresponds to a locality close to the town of San Juan de los Lagos,
Jalisco, in central México. The evidence was first recorded in the late 19th
century (Bárcena 1885, 1892; Dugès 1894), but remained relatively un-
known for more than 100 years. Bárcena (1885, 1892) and Dugès (1894)
recorded two different animal fossil tracks belonging to birds and felids
present in two small slabs that were studied at the time they were collected at
Rancho La Verdolaga. The track site, which was relocated recently, consists
of a series of quarries in the surroundings of La Verdolaga. In one of the sites
(21° 21′ 11″ N, 102° 23′ 35″ W) there is an exposed surface of 3.6 m by 27 m
with thousands of bird and artiodactyl tracks in situ; also, collected from other
quarries, are slabs with tracks of several different animals. Remarkable among
them those of a proboscidean.
The proboscidean tracks, contained on a single slab, consist of two closely
associated ichnites, preserved as convex hyporeliefs subcircular in shape,
representing both manus and pes impressions (Figure 1). The measurements
of the incomplete manus impression are: anteroposterior length, 226 mm;
transversal length, 203 mm. For the pes the measurements are 255 and 273
mm, respectively. The track exhibits three, possibly four digit impressions.
Owing to its close association and measurements it is thought to represent the
manus-pes set of a single individual. The size of the tracks corresponds to an
immature individual of age group I (sensu McNeil et al. 2005). At present the
ichnofauna also includes four bird morphotypes, artiodactyls (camelids), and
felids. The deposit age presumably is middle or late Pleistocene, suggested by
the presence in neighboring layers of bison fossil remains, which were re-
corded by Dugès (1894); they include Bison latifrons, from which a vertebra is
housed in the Museum of Natural History “Alfredo Dugès” in the city of
Previous notices of proboscidean tracks from México came only from

José Rubén Guzmán-Gutiérrez, Desarrollo Turístico El Caracol, Instituto del Medio Ambiente y
Ecología del Estado de Aguascalientes, Av. Perseo s/n., Aguascalientes, Ags., México; e-mail:
Felisa J. Aguilar, Centro INAH Coahuila, Bravo Norte # 120, Zona Centro, Saltillo 25000, Coahuila,
México; e-mail:
Rubén A. Rodríguez-de la Rosa, Secretaría de Educación y Cultura de Coahuila, Ateneo # 1517,
Saltillo 25000, Coahuila, México; e-mail:
Oscar J. Polaco, Subdirección de Laboratorios y Apoyo Académico, INAH, Moneda 16, Col. Centro
México 06060 D. F.

2008 GUZMÁN-GUTIÉRREZ ET AL. D. Hills. 1995 Los Icnofósiles de Vertebrados Terrestres del Terciario Tardío del Área de Tepexi de Rodríguez. P. C. Canada. Dugès. 2000). M. The slab consists of a tuffaceous rock with feldspar crystals. J. and A. P. Elementos Aplicables á la Agricultura á la Ingenieria y á la Industria. References Cited Bárcena. and S. Espinosa- Arrubarena. M.. Convex hyporelief of proboscidean tracks. Universidad Autónoma del estado de Hidalgo y Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Ichnos 11:27–37. México D. ——— 1892 Apuntes Relativos a la Geología del Estado de Jalisco.CRP 25. and S. 2ª serie 2:198–207. McNeil. F. México. A. M. F. La Naturaleza. Applegate. 2:421–23. Kooyman. B. Estado de Puebla. The image on the right side is a close-up of the complete ichnite. 1894 Felis fósil de San Juan de los Lagos. Quaternary Science Reviews 24:1253–59. Tesis de Licenciatura inédita. In Guide Book of the Field Trips. Puebla (Cabral-Perdomo 1995. R. Eberth 2004 The Fossil Record of Vertebrate Tracks in Mexico. Facultad de Ciencias. Aguillón-Martínez. 1885 Tratado de Geología. La Naturaleza. pp. 115–19. Tepexi de Rodríguez. V. 2ª serie. Cabral-Perdomo. Montellano-Ballesteros. The main track layer is composed of a consolidated white marl. ——— 2000 Pleistocene Vertebrate Tracks and Traces from the Pie de Vaca Formation. 60th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Á. therefore the tracks from San Juan de los Lagos are the only confirmed record of probos- cidean ichnites for the Pleistocene of México. México. . Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. A. L. edited by L. 171 0 25 0 25 cm cm Figure 1.. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. López-Espinoza. Rodriguez-de la Rosa. M. M. Tolman 2005 Mammoth Tracks Indicate a Declining Late Pleistocene Population in Southwestern Alberta. Secretaría de Fomento.