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  • Coprolite with cephalopod inclusions


    Images:

    GeschWhat
    •  

      This coprolite is from a marine creature that swam in the Jurassic seas that once covered this parts of England. The dark inclusions that can be seen on the surface are cephalopod hooks. In April 2016, the University of Minnesota X-ray Computed Tomography Lab scanned the specimen using a X5000 high resolution microCT system with a twin head 225 kV x-ray source and a Dexela area detector (3073 x 3889 pixels). Many of the images shown here are of individual 3D elements/features within the coprolite that were separated/isolated using Blob3D.

       

      The taxonomic classification given is for the inclusions, not the coprolite.

       

      Aside from the hooks, it is hard to definitively identify the inclusions without damage to the coprolite. The following is a list of inclusions:

      • 241 hooks of various sizes that are at least 75% intact.
      • 200+ plate-like fragments of various sizes. 
      • 19 ellipsoidal structures, possibly forams or parasite eggs.
      • 2 unidentified long, straight conical structures joined at wide end (A)
      • 1 long rod-like structure with a bulbous end (B)
      • 1 unidentified mass that looks like it was the attachment point for 5 rod-like structures (C)
      • 1 1ong cylindrical (rod) structure that tapers in the center. The center density is much lower than the outer shell (D)
      • 1 irregular structure that looks I originally thought might be an ink sack or buccal mass, but the size is wrong. Experta think it is more likely foraminifera (E)
      • 1 irregular structure, possibly a statolith (F)

       

      Acknowledgements: Thank you to Neale Monks and Christian Klug for providing input.

    Taxonomy

    Coprolite

    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Mollusca
    Class: Cephalopoda
    Order: NA
    Family: NA
    Genus: NA
    Species: NA

    Geological Time Scale

    Era: Mesozoic
    Period: Jurassic
    Epoch: Late

    Stratigraphy

    Oxford Clay Formation

    Provenance

    Collector: E R Matheau-Raven
    Acquired by: Purchase/Trade

    Dimensions

    Height: 14mm
    Diameter: 6mm

    Location

    Orton Pit
    Cambridgeshire
    England
    United Kingdom

    Comments

     

    This coprolite is from a marine creature that swam in the Jurassic seas that once covered this parts of England. The dark inclusions that can be seen on the surface are cephalopod hooks. In April 2016, the University of Minnesota X-ray Computed Tomography Lab scanned the specimen using a X5000 high resolution microCT system with a twin head 225 kV x-ray source and a Dexela area detector (3073 x 3889 pixels). Many of the images shown here are of individual 3D elements/features within the coprolite that were separated/isolated using Blob3D.

     

    The taxonomic classification given is for the inclusions, not the coprolite.

     

    Aside from the hooks, it is hard to definitively identify the inclusions without damage to the coprolite. The following is a list of inclusions:

    • 241 hooks of various sizes that are at least 75% intact.
    • 200+ plate-like fragments of various sizes. 
    • 19 ellipsoidal structures, possibly forams or parasite eggs.
    • 2 unidentified long, straight conical structures joined at wide end (A)
    • 1 long rod-like structure with a bulbous end (B)
    • 1 unidentified mass that looks like it was the attachment point for 5 rod-like structures (C)
    • 1 1ong cylindrical (rod) structure that tapers in the center. The center density is much lower than the outer shell (D)
    • 1 irregular structure that looks I originally thought might be an ink sack or buccal mass, but the size is wrong. Experta think it is more likely foraminifera (E)
    • 1 irregular structure, possibly a statolith (F)

     

    Acknowledgements: Thank you to Neale Monks and Christian Klug for providing input.



    User Feedback


    GeschWhat

    Posted · Report

    The University of Minnesota was kind enough to scan this and 4 other coprolites for me and provide me with the raw data. I am still researching this myself. However, I hit a snag when I started using the higher resolution data. I'm using freeware (Blob3d) to separate out the elements. The file sizes are so big that the program crashes when I get about halfway through the data. Out of the 5 scans I had done, this coprolite was the smallest with the lowest density, so the resolution is the best. I really should get back to working on this again. I think the most fascinating I found when I started processing the higher resolution data, were the low density tubular areas of the hooks. I don't know if these areas were for blood flow or tendon attachment. I need to reach out to some experts on extant species to see what I can find out. 

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    Sagebrush Steve

    Posted · Report

    I want one of those micro CT scanners but Amazon seems to be out of stock. :(

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