Fossil tracks should be recorded by methods that foster detailed ichnological analysis. Although outline drawings remain the standard currency of footprint illustration, their simplicity entails a tremendous loss of information. By contrast, monocular photographs are highly detailed but often suffer from suboptimal lighting, which can cause misperceptions. Anaglyph stereo imaging offers a compact, scale-independent format for illustrating and presenting the complex three-dimensional (3-D) shape of dinosaur footprints. Using examples from the Upper Triassic Fleming Fjord Formation of East Greenland, we address the benefits of anaglyphs to the exploration and exposition of theropod tracks in both the field and laboratory. We find that the addition of stereopsis to other available depth cues (shading, cast shadows) maximizes the information content of a 2-D image while minimizing erroneous or ambiguous perceptions of shape.
Stephen M. Gatesy. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
Neil H. Shubin. Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, and Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Farish A. Jenkins, Jr. Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
KEY WORDS: anaglyph; track; footprint; dinosaur; Greenland; Triassic, Norian
PE Article Number: 8.1.10
Copyright: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology May 2005
Submission: 30 November 2004. Acceptance: 6 March 2005.