- Dinosaur Coprolite Slice
- Jurassic Age
- Morrison Formation
This specimen most likely came from an unidentified Sauropod dinosaur. There have never been any bone fragments found in any of these specimens which would indicate that it came from a meat-eater, so the presumption has been that these coprolites were plant-based in nature and came from herbivores.
A coprolite is fossilized feces. (Fossil Poop) Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal’s behaviour (in this case, diet) rather than morphology. The name is derived from the Greek words κόπρος (kopros, meaning “dung”) and λίθος (lithos, meaning “stone”). They were first described by William Buckland in 1829. Prior to this they were known as “fossil fir cones” and “bezoar stones”. They serve a valuable purpose in paleontology because they provide direct evidence of the predation and diet of extinct organisms. Coprolites may range in size from a few millimetres to over 60 centimetres.
Coprolites, Like other fossils, have had much of their original composition replaced by mineral deposits such as silicates and calcium carbonates.