Fossil Tetrapod Foot Prints

Terrestrial Fossil
Scientific Name: Chelichnus

These tracks were made during the Permian Period by a four-legged animal with five toes on each foot. Different types of fossil trackways are given scientific names of their own based on their morphology, since it is often impossible to know for sure which species made them. It was once thought that Chelichnus tracks were made by a tortoise, but that is now known to be incorrect because tortoises had not yet evolved when these tracks were made. The type of animal that made these tracks remains unknown. They may have been made by an early mammal ancestor known as a therapsid, or they could be the tracks of a reptile unrelated to mammals.

3D Chelichnus Tracks
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A 3D model. This model shows a rock slab with a fossil trackway on the surface. The model can be rotated and tilted using a computer interface.

Several sets of various size tracks from the ichnogenus Chelichnus in the Coconino Sandstone. Tracks are found along the Hermit trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

This fossil found within Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona and is managed in situ. Learn about paleontology in the National Park Service:

Learn more about Grand Canyon National Park’s Centennial:

Part of a series of articles titled Grand Canyon Collections—Paleontology.

Grand Canyon National Park

Last updated: May 3, 2021