Just out | Residues from the Upper Permian carnivore coprolites from Vyazniki in Russia – key questions in reconstruction of feeding habits @ Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Just out @ Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Residues from the Upper Permian carnivore coprolites from Vyazniki in Russia – key questions in reconstruction of feeding habits


Piotr Bajdek, Krzysztof Owocki, Andrey G. Sennikov, Valeriy K. Golubev, Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki


Residues of twenty-five coprolite fragments collected from the Upper Permian of Vyazniki (European Russia) were studied in detail. The phosphatic composition, general shape and size, and bone inclusions of these specimens indicate that medium to large-sized carnivores, such as therocephalian therapsids or early archosauriforms, were the most likely coprolite producers. The contents of the examined fossils (i.e. scale, bone and tooth fragments, mineral grains, and microbial structures) do not differ significantly among the samples, implying fairly comparable feeding habits of their producers. Fragments of large tooth crowns in two of the analyzed samples imply that either (1) the coprolite producer swallowed the cranial elements of its prey or (2) the coprolite producer broke and swallowed its own tooth while feeding (such tooth damage is known in archosaurs that have tooth replacement, e.g. crocodiles and dinosaurs). Indeed, the most complete tooth fragment in these fossils is serrated, most likely belonging to an early archosauriform known from skeletal records from the Late Permian of Vyazniki. Another coprolite fragment contains the etched tooth of a lungfish, while putative actinopterygian fish remains (scales and small fragments of bones) are abundant in some samples. Mineral particles (mostly quartz grains, feldspars and mica) may have been swallowed accidentally. The preserved microbial colonies (mineralized fossil fungi and bacteria or their pseudomorphs), manifested in the coprolites as Fe-rich mineral structures, seem to have developed on the expelled feces rather than on the items before they were swallowed.

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Keywords: Fossil feces; Acid dissolution; Undigested remains; Microbial fossils; Palaeoecology

DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.05.033

READ IT HERE: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018217300871

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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)