Introduction to Ichnology

The Study of Plant and Animal Traces

Authored by:Anthony J. Martin
Department of Environmental Studies
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia USA 3032

Visitor number (since March 5, 1996):


December, 1999

  • Unfortunately, this page has been unchanged for more than a year. I apologize for the delay; during that time I was learning a lot of ichnology and hopefully it shows.

  • The Ichnology Newsletter has been revived in both paper and electronic form. The 1999 version (IN, v. 21) is now online and available through the preceding link.

  • The Dinosaur Trace Fossils Web page still offers information about trace fossils made by those most famous animals of the fossil record.


If you're in the mood to see more pictures instead of text, then you might want to go directly to the Trace Fossil Image Database, which contains images of trace fossils, brief descriptions, and interpretations. If you would prefer to read text and look at only a few pictures, then read any of the other sections regarding the fascinating subject of ichnology, the study of plant and animal traces.

I welcome all and any comments that you might have concerning the ichnology page. I may not be able to respond to all of your messages, but will try whenever possible. Direct your statements to the following address:

Thanks! Gracias! Danke! Domo! Gamsahapnida! Obrigado! Merci! Xie Xie! Takk!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The first version of this page went online in early August, 1995, largely through the initial programming efforts of Steven R. Kopec, Information Technology Division (ITD) of Emory University. Mr. Kopec has also assisted with subsequent revisions to the page and has provided some technical support.

Work-study students here at Emory University who have helped with image processing are Alan Loewy and Dan Fleischer. The task of loading audio files was assisted by Gary L. Falcon, ITD, and other helpful comments on technical issues were given by Sean P. Murphy, also of ITD. Most equipment and software used for this project were funded through internal grants by the Information Technology Division of Emory University. Most recently, I must thank Andy Rindsberg and Alfred Uchman for their co-editorship of the revived Ichnology Newsletter and the support of the ichnologic community for my hosting the electronic version of the Newsletter.

About the Background: The background is Thalassinoides, a burrow network that was probably formed by an arthropod in a shallow marine environment. This particular trace fossil is preserved in dolomitic limestone from the Middle Ordovician Maggol Formation, Republic of Korea. Thanks (Gamsahapnida) to Jai Woon Moon of KORDI (Korea Oceanographic Research and Development Institute) for providing the photograph.

Last Modified: December 4, 1999