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MarcoSr

Croc Coprolites with furrows

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MarcoSr

When I was just looking at my croc coprolite specimens from the marine Paleocene Aquia Formation of Liverpool Point Maryland I noticed this interesting 3.75 inch by 2 inch specimen.  I hadn’t noticed before that it contains furrows.  See the second picture which I darkened a bit to try to better show the furrows.  They are much more obvious when looking at the specimen itself.  I learned about furrows from Lori’s post below.

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/78589-possible-amphibian-jawmaxillary-with-teeth-in-coprolite/&tab=comments#comment-829344

 

I’ve now seen furrows in several croc coprolite specimens from the Paleocene of Maryland and the Eocene of Virginia.

 

Crocs have extremely strong stomach acid.  So strong that I’ve read in several papers that captive crocs fed a diet of chickens and/or rodents have no bones in their coprolites.  Interestingly their coprolites do show feather and hair traces.

 

Anyone else have coprolites with furrows?  Lori  @GeschWhat I know you do.  Please post some pictures.

 

Paleocene coprolite with furrows from Maryland:

 

5a0860531596a_CrocCoprolite3.75inchesx2inches.thumb.jpg.785e3d03ca151627cf3018b9f8b4cc43.jpg

 

5a086056757c7_CrocCoprolite13.75inchesx2inches.thumb.jpg.d3ef4a07404b1e22ced57c889fd436d5.jpg

 

Two Eocene coprolites with furrows from Virginia:

 

5a0860250f572_CoprolitesMikeF.EoceneVA35mm-60mm.thumb.jpg.e2f80f3b9ebb8f384de7742015e50c1b.jpg

 

Marco Sr.

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GeschWhat

@MarcoSr, I've read those papers on croc scat too. It is fascinating that hair and feathers survive while everything else is digested.

 

This one isn't furrowed, but I it may have evidence of undigested fur/hair on the surface. I had scanned because I was hoping it would show evidence of of this within, but the results were inconclusive. The scans did review that there were no undigested bones or scales, so it could be from crocodylian.

 

Most of those I have with furrows are small and do contain inclusions, so it is doubtful that they were produced by a crocodyilian.  

Coprolite-Fur-Impressions-Bull-Canyon-Formation-New-Mexico-1.jpg

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WhodamanHD

Keratin is actually pretty strong, wouldn't surprise me if it would survive longer in hydrochloric than bone. 

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MarcoSr
5 hours ago, WhodamanHD said:

Keratin is actually pretty strong, wouldn't surprise me if it would survive longer in hydrochloric than bone. 

 

From Wikipedia:

So it would be expected that crocs that were eating just fish wouldn't have inclusions in their coprolites with the fish bones being dissolved by their strong stomach acid .  But crocs that were also eating birds, mammals and/or turlles (All with karatin parts like feathers, etc., hair, etc., turtle shell etc.) should have inclusions.  Modern crocs eat all these things.  The croc coprolites that I see from the Paleocene and Eocene of MD/VA don't show evidence of any inclusions that I can see so I wonder if that means they were eating only fish?

 

Marco Sr.

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MarcoSr
8 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

@MarcoSr, I've read those papers on croc scat too. It is fascinating that hair and feathers survive while everything else is digested.

 

This one isn't furrowed, but I it may have evidence of undigested fur/hair on the surface. I had scanned because I was hoping it would show evidence of of this within, but the results were inconclusive. The scans did review that there were no undigested bones or scales, so it could be from crocodylian.

 

Most of those I have with furrows are small and do contain inclusions, so it is doubtful that they were produced by a crocodyilian.  

 

 

Lori

 

What do you think produced the furrows on your small coprolites?  On the croc coprolites that I've seen, it looks like something in the digestive tract produced the furrows.  However the furrows are only on a small number of the more complete croc coprolites.

 

Marco Sr.

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WhodamanHD
16 minutes ago, MarcoSr said:

 

From Wikipedia:

So it would be expected that crocs that were eating just fish wouldn't have inclusions in their coprolites with the fish bones being dissolved by their strong stomach acid .  But crocs that were also eating birds, mammals and/or turlles (All with karatin parts like feathers, etc., hair, etc., turtle shell etc.) should have inclusions.  Modern crocs eat all these things.  The croc coprolites that I see from the Paleocene and Eocene of MD/VA don't show evidence of any inclusions that I can see so I wonder if that means they were eating only fish?

 

Marco Sr.

Wearing most of the croc teeth from these formations tomistomes? They have features that lean towards exclusive piscivory, the long snout and thin recurve teeth.  This could lead to this type of coprolite maybe?

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ynot
26 minutes ago, MarcoSr said:

What do you think produced the furrows on your small coprolites? 

Pimples on the sphincter.  :hearty-laugh:

 

Sorry, I could not resist.

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MarcoSr
16 minutes ago, WhodamanHD said:

Wearing most of the croc teeth from these formations tomistomes? They have features that lean towards exclusive piscivory, the long snout and thin recurve teeth.  This could lead to this type of coprolite maybe?

 

There are definitely gharial type crocs from these formations so the coprolites could be theirs.  They were probably just fish eaters.  Although the formations I collect also have a good number of regular croc teeth in them but maybe I'm not finding their coprolites because even in Paleocene and Eocene marine regular croc coprolites I would expect turtle shell and possibly bird inclusions unless they also ate mostly fish.

 

Marco Sr.

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MarcoSr
13 minutes ago, ynot said:

Pimples on the sphincter.  :hearty-laugh:

 

Sorry, I could not resist.

 

Tony

 

You are lucky that you are not a grad student of mine as I would task you with examining croc sphincters to prove your hypothesis.

 

Marco Sr.

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ynot
2 minutes ago, MarcoSr said:

 

Tony

 

You are lucky that you are not a grad student of mine as I would task you with examining croc sphincters to prove your hypothesis.

 

Marco Sr.

:hearty-laugh:

 

Dodged a bullet there!

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GeschWhat
40 minutes ago, MarcoSr said:

What do you think produced the furrows on your small coprolites? 

I think some are formed as they pass through a sphincter. Others may be from passing through longitudinal intestinal folds that would have increased the surface area for nutrient absorption. These were in another post, but I thought I would include them here as well. They were found in floodplain sediments that formed the Triassic Bull Canyon Formation, Quay County, New Mexico. I am currently trying to research modern species that may produce furrows such as these.

Group.jpg

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MarcoSr
10 hours ago, doushantuo said:

 

That was an interesting short paper.  Especially the two below excerpts:

 

"Maximum lengths of specimens are for the most part in the range 2 to 10 cm, although values of up to 22 cm have been recorded."

(referring to coprolites found in the formation.)

 

"Sturgeons are considered to be the most likely animals of origin for the Whitemud coprolites, because they possess spiral intestinal valves and attain large size (up to 1,000 kg); they have an almost entirely cartilaginous skeleton and skull with no teeth, which might, at least in part, account for the absence of skeletal remains in the coprolite-bearing strata; their diet of invertebrates, sifted from bottom muds, would account for the absence of vertebrate-skeletal debris from the coprolites"

 

When I found a very large coprolite from the early Eocene or Paleocene of MD/VA my first impression based upon size was always croc.  From this paper it is clear that sturgeon coprolites get very large and don't have vertebrate inclusions.  Plus sturgeons were definitely in the MD/VA area based upon limited remains that have been found.  Also sturgeons have spiral valves like some species of sharks.  So it is very possible that some coprolites that I thought were shark or croc might actually be sturgeon.

 

Marco Sr.

 

10 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

I think some are formed as they pass through a sphincter. Others may be from passing through longitudinal intestinal folds that would have increased the surface area for nutrient absorption. These were in another post, but I thought I would include them here as well. They were found in floodplain sediments that formed the Triassic Bull Canyon Formation, Quay County, New Mexico. I am currently trying to research modern species that may produce furrows such as these.

 

 

Lori

 

If you find modern species that may produce these furrows please let us know.

 

Marco Sr.

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JohnBrewer
19 hours ago, ynot said:

Pimples on the sphincter.  :hearty-laugh:

 

Sorry, I could not resist.

You would try and resist if you did have pimples on your sphincter...

This is my only croc coprolite which has sort of furrows. 

 

9F0A5781-3D90-4879-AB29-B8CC482AEA3B.thumb.jpeg.de1450d24c6465cfa0a1e2b415891c35.jpeg76607014-AE10-4DEF-A5B2-A009D7AE6DD3.thumb.jpeg.0ab8469e25fe1f3e9cfbe1d02605ebb9.jpeg69DBC01C-02CA-4A80-A4B2-6CC7A9CE3521.thumb.jpeg.fb8e97fd67107f2e9ee819e09597264b.jpeg

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GeschWhat
15 hours ago, MarcoSr said:

If you find modern species that may produce these furrows please let us know.

You know I will!:D

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MarcoSr
14 hours ago, JohnBrewer said:

This is my only croc coprolite which has sort of furrows.

 

Your picture below shows furrows which match what I'm calling furrows from my croc coprolites.  Thank you for posting.

 

5a0aeb3186cbd_CroccoproliteUK.jpg.30c8e604e4642f1fb2947a89e0b2120a.jpg

 

Marco Sr.

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JohnBrewer
6 hours ago, MarcoSr said:

 

Your picture below shows furrows which match what I'm calling furrows from my croc coprolites.  Thank you for posting.

 

5a0aeb3186cbd_CroccoproliteUK.jpg.30c8e604e4642f1fb2947a89e0b2120a.jpg

 

Marco Sr.

If it helps I can post better pictures of that area Marco  @MarcoSr

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GeschWhat

A little thinking out loud:

 

I think the "furrows" in the first coprolite posted by @MarcoSr and @JohnBrewer's coprolite are likely the result of muscle marks or gravity during expulsion (think soft serve). I think the longitudinal furrows/striations in the coprolite in MarcoSr's second photo and those in my photo are more likely due to the shape of the colon, rectum or sphincter. Some insects have rectal pads that absorb the moisture before their fecal pellets can be expelled. These are what give termite pellets their characteristic hexagonal shape. I wonder if their are other animals that have similar features. 

 

Here are the photos I am sending out with inquiries. I thought I would add them here in case someone who knows more than me happens upon this thread. 

Triassic_Furrowed_Coprolites.jpg

Examples_of_Permian_Furrowed_Coprolites-small.jpg

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GeschWhat

Cretaceous Furrowed Coprolite - Small.jpg

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Dewbunny

Ok, I am not a professional in any way but I do live on the central West Coast of FL and I see live gators galore. And I have seen their poop,I've even stepped in it. Just before winter they gorge themselves and the poo has ridges,I'm guessing due to a full digestive tract/colon plus the fuller the gator the slower it poops,like pushes a little then takes a break/rest then pushes a little more. Poop just kinda hanging out back there like a dingle berry. If you startle the gator sometimes it will drop it's 'package' but half the time it swims off with its waste intact and still attached per say.

Just my 1 cent

Below is photo of fresh dropping

Screenshot_2017-11-14-17-17-43-1.png

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GeschWhat

@Dewbunny, you are my new favorite person! That is a really interesting shape. Examples of modern scat  (especially unique ones like this) and observations of their production can give clues to behaviors/leavings of their prehistoric cousins. :D I hate to admit it, but I think I have watched every YouTube video out there of various animals pooping and looked at every imaginable image of scat, hoping to get an idea of what I'm seeing in the fossil counterparts. If you ever happen upon a creature extruding with longitudinal striations, please get a photo and let me know!

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Brittle Star

Hi, what an interesting topic, I cannot believe all of the suggestions as to why coprolites have this shape, maybe I am missing some scientific or non scientific explanation but to me a lot of poop has this pattern due to the muscles and interior surface of the extreme lower digestive tract (trying to be ladylike) of what ever is doing what they are doing. I suppose the unique shapes determine the organism that has deposited the deposit. I thought this was common knowledge. However I still have no idea why termite poo is hexagonal, this has not changed in over 75 million years. 

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MarcoSr
18 hours ago, JohnBrewer said:

If it helps I can post better pictures of that area Marco  @MarcoSr

 

That area is the area of real interest to me.  It seems to match the area circled in red in my second picture in this post.  If you can post additional pictures it would be appreciated.

 

Marco Sr.

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MarcoSr
16 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

Cretaceous Furrowed Coprolite - Small.jpg

 

Lori

 

These do look more like the Eocene coprolites that I posted.

 

Marco Sr.

 

16 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

A little thinking out loud:

 

I think the "furrows" in the first coprolite posted by @MarcoSr and @JohnBrewer's coprolite are likely the result of muscle marks or gravity during expulsion (think soft serve). I think the longitudinal furrows/striations in the coprolite in MarcoSr's second photo and those in my photo are more likely due to the shape of the colon, rectum or sphincter. Some insects have rectal pads that absorb the moisture before their fecal pellets can be expelled. These are what give termite pellets their characteristic hexagonal shape. I wonder if their are other animals that have similar features. 

 

Here are the photos I am sending out with inquiries. I thought I would add them here in case someone who knows more than me happens upon this thread. 

Triassic_Furrowed_Coprolites.jpg

Examples_of_Permian_Furrowed_Coprolites-small.jpg

 

Lori

 

I really haven't seen this pattern of longitudinal striations in any of the thousands of marine coprolites that I've collected.

 

Marco Sr.

 

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