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Leave nothing but footprints


Photos taken by ANI guests in Antarctica put a new spin on the old saying, "Take nothing but photos. Leave nothing but footprints" and show that footprints can be both intriguing and enduring.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales discovered fossilized footprints from Antarctica's ancient past, while on a recent excursion at Union Glacier. The tracks (shown above) were made by trilobites, marine arthropods that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Trace fossils such as these are called ichnofossils and there are three main types of trilobite trace fossils related to the behaviors of the trilobite in its habitat: resting, burrowing, and walking. These particular ichnofossils are Diplichnites, tracks made while walking or striding on the surface of the mud.

Further afield, ANI pilot Russ Hepburn photographed these unusual tracks while camped near an Emperor penguin rookery during one of our Emperor Penguins Experiences. The tracks were made by an Emperor penguin tobogganing on its belly. The penguin pushes with its feet and uses its wing-like flippers as paddles to propel itself forward over the snow.

If you have been following the Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Project on Twitter, you may have seen their photograph of raised footprints. The snow under the footprint is compressed and when the wind blows away the surrounding snow, raised footprints remain.

More about ichnofossils
More about our ANI Emperor Penguin Experiences
More about the Lake Ellsworth Project