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Cephalopod Hooks in Jurassic Coprolite


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I had this little coprolite from the Oxford Clay, Orton Pit, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England, scanned by the University of Minnesota X-ray Tomography Lab. Some cephalopod hooks were visible on the surface under magnification. I was amazed by the number of hooks that were revealed by the micro CT scan.

Here is what was visible on the surface:

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Here are the micro CT images:

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Micro CT image isolating the cephalopod hooks:

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Micro CT image section through the coprolite:

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One more micro CT image of the entire coprolite showing cephalopod hooks:

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fossilized6s

Awesome pictures!

I don't even want to imagine trying to pass ceph hooks. Haha!

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OK... now that is absolutely cool. Did you do any of the CT data manipulating? or did the U of M guys do it all and give you the photos you have shown us?

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wrfisherman

Makes me want to check all my poops! Fossil ones that is. This is really cool to see.

M

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Amazing as I've wondered for many year's what the inside of a marine Jurassic coprolite would look like...and now I know.

I have a ever expanding collection of the same type of coprolites you have kindly shown us today.

Some are quite large.... And I dare say there may be teeth inside some.

Thank you again.... Made my day.

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Wow, the CT images are fantastic. Hopefully researchers will use CT images more when investigating coprolites. Images like this might give a better idea of what was being eaten without having to physically thin section the specimens.

Marco Sr.

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OK... now that is absolutely cool. Did you do any of the CT data manipulating? or did the U of M guys do it all and give you the photos you have shown us?

The U of M guy did the images with the cephalopod hooks completely isolated and the section. I did the two where you can see the surface outline. They gave me an executable files that runs a lite version of their software. So I can create/manipulate sections, videos and the lower resolution images you see above. I'm just starting to get the hang of manipulating the images. Once I figure out how to edit videos, I want to provide a link to some of those as well. Did you get a chance to look at the images from the Triassic coprolite that I posted? LINK I did all of those images with the software they gave me. I am going to meet with the lab early next week, so I will hopefully be able to use the software there to get better images. I guess the software they use is really expensive and they only have one license.

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Awesome pictures!

I don't even want to imagine trying to pass ceph hooks. Haha!

Kind of gives a whole new meaning to roughage! :D

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Makes me want to check all my poops! Fossil ones that is. This is really cool to see.

M

I know, me too! They did 7 coprolites for me...two of which didn't really show much. I'm hoping I can get a few more done, but I don't want to take advantage of their generosity!

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Amazing as I've wondered for many year's what the inside of a marine Jurassic coprolite would look like...and now I know.

I have a ever expanding collection of the same type of coprolites you have kindly shown us today.

Some are quite large.... And I dare say there may be teeth inside some.

Thank you again.... Made my day.

You are very welcome! I will be posting 2 more from the UK (one from Wealden and one from Blue Lias) once I get the images the way I want them.

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Wow, the CT images are fantastic. Hopefully researchers will use CT images more when investigating coprolites. Images like this might give a better idea of what was being eaten without having to physically thin section the specimens.

Marco Sr.

Isn't technology grand!?!

Edited by GeschWhat
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I have messed a bit with CT data, but the expensive software is a pain in the butt. Key word being expensive.

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If anyone is interested, I put together a video clip using the imagery from this CT scan. If you have Facebook, it can be seen on my coprolite page here. While my filmography skills aren't the greatest, it is still fun to look at rotated 3D views and live section cuts of the inclusions! :)

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That is a really cool poop!!

Tony

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  • 4 weeks later...

Amazing, thank you for sharing these. Do you know what it was that produced the coprolite and was scoffing all the cephalopods?

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Amazing, thank you for sharing these. Do you know what it was that produced the coprolite and was scoffing all the cephalopods?

My best guess is a fish...there is no way to know for sure.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Super super cool Lori. I've got a few bits of poo from that area, different shapes so maybe different beasts? Hmmmm, passing hooks can't be much fun....

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Super super cool Lori. I've got a few bits of poo from that area, different shapes so maybe different beasts? Hmmmm, passing hooks can't be much fun....

I'm sure. It is getting even cooler...I think I found parasite eggs and a worm in this particular one also. I am still working on the CT data trying to separate everything out. I just got higher resolution images from the lab last week so I can possibly confirm what I'm seeing. In the higher res images, it looks like there is even some sort of tendon or possibly a blood vessel opening in some of the hooks. Once I get all the data sorted, I plan on sending photos to a guy in Zurich that specializes in cephalopods. Hopefully, he will be able to shed some light on some of the strange things I'm seeing.

There is a total of 241 hooks that are relatively intact, plus many more partially digested fragments. 18 small egg-shaped structures, 3 larger egg-shaped structures (3 of which look like they something hatched out...like the weevil cocoons from Australia), 5 segments that look like they could be from a parasitic worm, large, flat plate-like structures.

Here are some images from the CT data. most of these are from the low res data. It will be a couple more weeks before I am able to separate everything out in high resolution.

If anyone has any ideas about what the plate-like structures could be, I would love to know.

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I'm not really sure what these things are...ink sack and statolith? Both have a lower density than the hooks. I have to play around with the extracted data to see if I can get a clearer image. The bad thing about coprolites is that the remains of more than one type of prey can be in there. Because this one is so small and pretty densely packed with hooks, I'm thinking it is mostly cephalopod remains.

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