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GeschWhat

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In short, I'm trying to figure out exactly what was on the menu: fish or cephalopods.

 

While sorting through some Oxford Clay fish coprolites, I came across this specimen. It was part of a batch purchased years ago. I must have just assumed the inclusions were fish vertebrae, but now I'm not too sure. I know some vertebrae from some fish fry can be hollow, but the texture/material of these inclusions look very different from anything I've seen (including vertebrae in Oxford Clay coprolites). Because of the color and layers, I'm thinking these may be chitinous. That said, I haven't seen enough fossilized chitinous material to be sure. The only thing I've seen are cephalopod hooks in coprolite (tiny and thin with no layers) and Arthropleura tergites (note layered because they weren't exposed to digestion?).

 

I know back in the early 1800's, William Buckland thought some of the rings found in Blue Lias coprolites could be rings from the suckers of cephalopods, but acknowledged fish vertebrae should not be ruled out (On the Discovery of Coprolites, or Fossil Faeces, in the Lias at Lyme Regis, and in other Formations - Page 226). I have a number of specimens with that type of ring, but they are smaller and fossilization/mineralization isn't the same.

 

So here are my questions:

 

1. Does anyone out there have any examples of beefy chitinous inclusions in coprolite?

2. Is there a quick test for chitin?

3. Has anyone seen vertebrae that look like these?

4. Has anyone seen fossilized rings from cephalopod suckers? Some extant squid have these, but their rings have little teeth/serrations on them. 

5. Any other ideas what these could be?

 

As always, thanks for looking!

Coprolite-Ring-Inclusions-Oxford-Clay-R1-A.thumb.jpg.ce00f0b8af971449abb88a0e6f1ded8e.jpgCoprolite-Ring-Inclusions-Oxford-Clay-R1-B.thumb.jpg.3afa85d2132c8fdd37a6b94e6f12f9b3.jpg

Coprolite-Ring-Inclusions-Oxford-Clay-Views-small.thumb.jpg.334702d9c5faa89bb2ba55014012b345.jpg

@MarcoSr, @DE&i, @Carl

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They do look chitinous and if so it should be possible to dissolve them out to get a complete picture. Fascinating roughage!

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon

Looks like neither vertebrae nor belemnites to me. But, other than that, no idea how to help out here. Sorry! Very interesting topic, all the same! :look:

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Lori

 

The inclusions don't look like any kind of fish vertebrae (shark, ray or bony fish) that I'm familiar with.  The color, texture and lines somewhat remind me of some fish scales that I've seen, but that exact pattern and especially the rounded shape don't match any kind of fish scale that I'm familiar with (see the below picture).  I've looked through some Oxford Clay matrix from England before but I don't remember finding anything similar although I did find a good number of Onychites .  So I'm not sure what those inclusions are.  That distinctive "eye pattern"  and the lines should help determine what they are.

 

 

5fd0b58967dfe_Fishscales1.jpg.0810222b9861d665d493adeee9202a27.jpg

 

 

Marco Sr. 

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11 hours ago, westcoast said:

They do look chitinous and if so it should be possible to dissolve them out to get a complete picture. Fascinating roughage!

I have another small fragment with at least one similar ring. I might just do that!

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7 hours ago, MarcoSr said:

I did find a good number of Onychites

Just learned something new again! I didn't know the proper name for cephalopod hooks was onychites (or if you told me before I spaced it). You are the best! 

 

I just shot a message to a coprolite friend at the London Museum of Natural History. Perhaps he has seen these before.

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I just heard back from my friend, he couldn't identify the rings either, but also thought they looked chitinous. He suggested looking at lobster antenna. Anyone have a fossil lobster they can photograph for me?

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20 hours ago, MarcoSr said:

Lori

 

The inclusions don't look like any kind of fish vertebrae (shark, ray or bony fish) that I'm familiar with.  The color, texture and lines somewhat remind me of some fish scales that I've seen, but that exact pattern and especially the rounded shape don't match any kind of fish scale that I'm familiar with (see the below picture).  I've looked through some Oxford Clay matrix from England before but I don't remember finding anything similar although I did find a good number of Onychites .  So I'm not sure what those inclusions are.  That distinctive "eye pattern"  and the lines should help determine what they are.

 

 

5fd0b58967dfe_Fishscales1.jpg.0810222b9861d665d493adeee9202a27.jpg

 

 

Marco Sr. 

:DittoSign:

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
4 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

I just heard back from my friend, he couldn't identify the rings either, but also thought they looked chitinous. He suggested looking at lobster antenna. Anyone have a fossil lobster they can photograph for me?

Sorry Lori,

 

Wish I could be of help, but, unfortunately, it's marine reptiles with me - albeit with the occasional soft-bodied squid or amphibian... :trex:

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I have been corresponding with a seller on an auction site that has a pristine Solnhofen lobster. He was kind enough to compare (with a loupe) the antenna on his lobster with the inclusions. He thought it could be a match. So I just bought a cheaper, not so pristine, lobster with nice antennae. I can't wait to compare for myself. Stay tuned! :popcorn:

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Wow... Those don't ring any bells for me. Chitin is a pretty good direction, I'd say. They certainly have enough detail that they should be identifiable. You just gotta find the right nerd. I'm the wrong one this time!

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Hi @GeschWhatthat's another nice example, I'm not sure you find a 2d Decapod crustacea example from the Orton Pit Oxford Clay exposures. The best examples were from St. Ives in Cambridgeshire and Christian Malford in Wiltshire.

 

As Marco Sr said, there is a fish scale pattern to it, but the cylindrical shape of R1 does suggest a worn fish vertebra. 

 

That said there are alot of Oxford Clay fauna wonders still to be discovered. 

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Very nice find!

Patterns are strange...

I' m wondering if they can' t be compared to crinoid anchoring systems like rhizoids or similar.

 

i0883-1351-20-3-224-f15.gif

F11.large.jpg.2722369b0dd0be5b9b69d7ac4f540230.jpg

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Ahoi

I dug into the depth of my collection and came up with something recent to compare,

A caribbean spiny lobsters antenna I found on holiday, and a humboldt squids sucker-"tooth" I thought ok to buy when humboldt squid seemed to become a pest some years ago. scale is metric.

An Afterthought: What looks like tree rings on the fossil meal could be insertions of spikes like the ones in the recent antenna?

Best Regards,

J

CIMG4334.JPG

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9 hours ago, Mahnmut said:

Ahoi

I dug into the depth of my collection and came up with something recent to compare,

A caribbean spiny lobsters antenna I found on holiday, and a humboldt squids sucker-"tooth" I thought ok to buy when humboldt squid seemed to become a pest some years ago. scale is metric.

An Afterthought: What looks like tree rings on the fossil meal could be insertions of spikes like the ones in the recent antenna?

Best Regards,

J

CIMG4334.JPG

These are great! I love that you have these little treasures. I think the thought was the circular areas are where the spikes were. The squid sucker ring is simply amazing. I'm sure the "teeth" on that would have fared better in the digestive track than the ring. Once the pandemic is over, I was planning on a visit to a local seafood market. They were nice enough to save me some squid beaks (small ones) a couple of years ago. I might have to check with them to see if any of the smaller squid have sucker rings. Thank you for posting these!

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