Mitigating the Goldilocks effect
Falkingham, Peter L.
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In ichnology, the Goldilocks effect describes a scenario in which a substrate must be ‘just right’ in order for tracks to form—too soft, the animal will be unable to traverse the area, and too firm, the substrate will not deform. Any given substrate can therefore only preserve a range of tracks from those animals which exert an underfoot pressure at approximately the yield strength of the sediment. However, rarely are substrates vertically homogeneous for any great depth, varying either due to heterogeneity across sediment layers, or from mechanical behaviour such as strain hardening.
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