Cheirotherium barthi, A Labrinthodont Amphibian Trackway

Featured on page 78 of Catalogue of Casts of Fossils by Henry A Ward, 1866. The 1866 catalog description reads: “Track, on slab, (relief). These remarkable footprints strikingly resemble the impressions of human hands, whence the generic title. The tracks of the hind-foot, are about eight inches long and five wide. Less than two inches in advance of them are the prints of the fore-feet, which are only four inches long and three wide. The footprints follow one another in pairs, about fourteen inches apart. Dr. Kaup, who first described these ichnites, conjectured that the animal might have been a large species of the Opossum; but in the didelphic quadrupeds the thumb is on the inner side of the hind-foot. No certain remains of the Cherirotherium have been found; but bones of Labryrinthodon have been found in the same locality ass the foot-prints; and it is likely probable that Cherirotherium tracks are those of Labyrinthodont reptiles. This specimen, discovered in the New Red Sandstone (Lower Trias) at Jona, Germany, belongs to the Ward Museum in the University of Rochester. Size 6 ft. 2 in. x 18 in Price, $10.00.”

Chirotherium, also known as Cheriotherium (‘hand-beast’), is a Triassic trace fossil consisting of five-fingered (pentadactyle) footprints and whole tracks. These look, by coincidence, remarkably like the hands of apes and bears, with the outermost toe having evolved to extend out to the side like a thumb, although probably only functioning to provide a firmer grip in mud. Chirotherium tracks were first found in 1834 in Lower Triassic sandstone (Buntsandstein) in Thuringia, Germany, dating from about 243 million years ago (mya).

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79 21 x 6.5 inches and 63 pounds 

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Cheirotherium barthi, A Labrinthodont Amphibian Trackway 

6 feet 2 inches by 18 inches
Item 515 

Category: Replicas
Type: Claws
Phylum: Vertebrates
Class: Amphibians


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Cheirotherium barthi, A Labrinthodont Amphibian Trackway

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