Trace fossils (also known as “ichnites” or “ichnofossils”) are records of prehistoric activity apart from the actual body remains of the organisms, and may include corprolites (dino dung), bite marks, burrowings, root cavities, sedimentary remains, and footprints.
Dinosaur tracks in particular have been invaluable to paleontology ‘CSIs’ to almost observe their behavior. Paleontology forensics using corporolites inform on dinosaur diets. Fossils of dinosaur tracks tell us when a particular species might have lived, if it were bipedal or quadrupedal, its weight (by the depth of the print), posture (by pronation of its foot), the flexibility of its foot anatomy, the use of its tail (if it was held upright or left an imprint) locomotion speed (by the paces between the prints), if it moved or ate alone or in groups, travelled along common ‘dinosaur highways’ or off the beaten track, the distances it travelled to, if it was hunted, if predators hunted in packs, and even carnivore-herbivore ratios in the ecology of an area.
This specimen that just arrived contains the track of a Grallator, a common group of three-toed bipedal therapod dinosaurs from the early Jurassic (200 million years ago). It are found in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, and the US. This specimen, with a 5-inch track, was from the Hettangian layer in Lazere, France.
Incidentally, the largest ever dinosaur tracks were also found in France. They are sauropod footprints measuring 2 metres in diameter!