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Temporal range: Cretaceous
Philmont Scout Ranch Tyrannosaurus footprint.jpg
Tyrannosauripus pillmorei, probable Tyrannosaurus footprint from Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico
Trace fossil classification e
Ichnoclass: Reptilipedia
Ichnocohort: Theropodipedia
Ichnoorder: Maniraptorformipida
Ichnofamily: Tyrannosauripodidae
Ichnogenus: Tyrannosauripus
Lockley & Hunt, 1994
Type ichnospecies
Tyrannosauripus pillmorei

Tyrannosauripus is an ichnogenus of dinosaur footprint. It was discovered by geologist Charles "Chuck" Pillmore in 1983 and formally described by Martin Lockley and Adrian Hunt in 1994.[1] This fossil footprint from northern New Mexico is 86 cm long and given its Late Cretaceous age (about 66 million years old), it very likely belonged to the giant theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. Similar tridactyl dinosaur tracks in North America were discovered earlier, but they were later recognized as hadrosaurid tracks.[2][3] In 2007, large tyrannosaurid track was found also in eastern Montana (Hell Creek Formation).[4] In 2016, probable fossil trackway of Tyrannosaurus rex was discovered in Wyoming (Lance Formation).[5]

Other discoveries[edit]

In the 1980s, palaeontologists first studied a place in Queensland called Lark Quarry. There they found three dinosaur ichnogenera. One set of tracks belongs to a small coelurosaurSkartopus; a second belonged to a hypsilophodontid called Wintonopus; the third was of a large theropod, Tyrannosauripus.

Dinosaur tracks from Lark Quarry


Artists impression of Muttaburrasaurus


New research made by palaeontologists from Queensland, states, that the third set of tracks did not belong to theropod at all. They say that "exists strong morphological similarity between Tyrannosauropus [sic], and iguanodontian ichnotaxon Amblydactylus gethingi".[6]


The lead author of the research, Anthony Romilio, however believes that Lark Quarry footprints are from another ornithopod, Muttaburrasaurus langdoni, whose remains were found in Queensland. He states:

"Making the distinction between the three-toed tracks of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs and the three-toed tracks of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs can be quite difficult. This confusion has led to numerous ornithopod dinosaur tracks being incorrectly identified as belonging to theropods, and vice versa."


  • Lockley, M. G.; Hunt, A. P. (1994). A track of the giant theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus from close to the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary, northern New Mexico. Ichnos, 3(3): 213-218.
  1. ^ Lockley, M. G.; Hunt, A. P. (1994). A track of the giant theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus from close to the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary, northern New Mexico. Ichnos, 3(3): 213-218.
  2. ^ Peterson, W. (1924). Dinosaur tracks in the roofs of coal mines. Natural History, 24:388-391.
  3. ^ Haubold, H. (1971). Ichnia Amphiborum et Reptiliorum Fossilium. Handbuch der Palaeoherpetologie Teil 18. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart. 124 pp.
  4. ^ Manning, P. L., et al. (2008). A probable tyrannosaurid track from the Hell Creek Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Montana, United States. Palaios 23(10):654-647.
  5. ^ Smith, S. D., Persons IV, W. S., Xing L. (2016). A tyrannosaur trackway at Glenrock, Lance Formation (Maastrichtian), Wyoming. Cretaceous Research 61, 1-4.
  6. ^ Anthony Romilio & Steven W. Salisbury (2011). "A reassessment of large theropod dinosaur tracks from the mid-Cretaceous (late Albian–Cenomanian) Winton Formation of Lark Quarry, central-western Queensland, Australia: a case for mistaken identity". Cretaceous Research. 32 (2): 135–142. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2010.11.003. 

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