Ichnology is the scientific study of traces and traces of animals, specifically these tracks and traces are typically preserved in the geological rock record. I go into depth on what exactly is a Trace Fossil in a previous post.
Neoichnology is the scientific study of tracks and traces in modern sediments, made by currently extant (living) organisms. Scientists, specifically ichnologists, biologists, geologists, and paleontologists, will look at modern traces in order to better understand fossil traces.
As someone who is an ichnologist by training, I am fascinated by the traces left behind by both modern and ancient organisms and I will frequently find myself taking pictures of tracks and traces left behind in various substrates. While on vacation in central Utah, at Yuba State Park, I came across one such series of interesting traces within the sand dunes of the park.
Trackways consisting of staggered to alternating series of up to three tracks, at least one of which is linear to curvilinear, whilst they may also be ovoid or crook shaped. The tracks in a series have different orientations. The longest track is parallel to slightly oblique to the mid-line of the trackway and is either the middle or the inner track. The shortest track is orientated antero-laterally, or parallel, to the mid-line and is either the inner or the middle track. The middle-sized track is generally orientated perpendicularly to the mid-line but can also be orientated postero-laterally or antero-laterally. Straight or sinusoidal single or paired medial impressions may also be present.
|The Ten-lined June Beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata). Image courtesy of Bug Guide.
|Verified Ten-lined June Beetle occurrences according to Bug Guide.