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Sixty million years old mammal tracks from Svalbard (completed)

One of the discovered tracks of the pantodont.

This is the first discovery of fossil mammal tracks on Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, Arctic Norway. Size and excellent quality of the tracks make them unique and makes it possible to identify the track maker. Their discovery also has implications for understanding the regional geology. The tracks were discovered on the 20 th December 2006 by the miners Håvard Dyrkollbotn and Kent Solberg, in the roof of the coal mine (Gruve 7) in Longyearbyen. This coal is in the Todalen Member of the Firkanten Formation, of Paleocene age. The track record of Paleocene mammals is scarce and so far only a handful of tracks and trackways have been described worldwide. There are no known skeletal remains of mammals from the Paleocene of Svalbard and the adjacent Paleocene deposits of Greenland . The size of the tracks implies they were made by a large mammal.


Charlotta Lüthje, Jesper Milàn, and Jørn H. Hurum (in press). Paleocene Tracks of the Mammal Pantodont genus Titanoides in Coal-Bearing Strata, Svalbard, Arctic Norway. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

Jesper Milàn, Charlotta Lüthje & Jørn H. Hurum 2008. Tracking the rise and dispersion of the first large mammals -pantodont tracks from the Palaeocene of Svalbard, Norway. Poster at Ichnia 2008 - Second International Congress on Ichnology, Cracow, Poland , September 1 - 5th, 2008.

The mountains around Longyearbyen - the main settlement on Spitsbergen - are made of 50-60 million years old coal-bearing sandstones.
Pantodont : A mammal that lived in the Palaeocene. Perhaps it migrated from North America to Svalbard.
Published Sep. 14, 2015 11:58 AM - Last modified Sep. 29, 2015 11:03 AM