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Paleoworld-101

Weird question i know, but i found this large coprolite from a Cretaceous inland sea site near Richmond in QLD, Australia and it is by far the largest single coprolite i have collected. As you can see it is almost the size of my hand, though if whole it would have actually been even bigger as there is a clear break on one edge where it would have continued further. The sea at this time was inhabited by a range of marine reptiles (7m ichthyosaurs, 10m long necked elasmosaurs and 10m short necked pliosaurs) but also by some pretty big fish, the largest of which was the ichthyodectid Cooyoo australis (a relative of the more famous Xiphactinus audux). This species could grow to about 2.5 - 3m long. 

 

There isn't really a sure way of knowing what produced this coprolite, but i was hoping maybe i could rule out fish simply based on the large size. Assuming a maximum sized Cooyoo, would a 3 metre fish be able to produce a poo of this size? Or can i safely assume it belongs to one of the larger marine reptiles? This is probably a question best aimed at collectors of the Smoky Hill Chalk as they may be familiar with the size of large fish coprolites such as those of Xiphactinus. @KansasFossilHunter @Xiphactinus

 

Interestingly there is a small belemnite poking out of the coprolite on one side, so whatever it came from must have been eating belemnites. I'm thinking ichthyosaur is most likely.  

 

IMG_5740.thumb.JPG.b6f4e9aaec7a87fcc32bced118f97bc9.JPG

 

IMG_4065.JPG.291d813a4729991208877c588d2c3409.JPG

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doushantuo

fleaAmphipora-ramosa-4-1000 (1).jpg

 

You sound pretty sure it's a coprolite(THIS IS NOT DOUBTING YOUR SKILL IN FOSSIL RECOGNITION,BTW)

Piotr Bajdek*,GeschWhat ,Marcofossils and perhaps a host of others are very knowledgable on the subjest

*professionally  involved with coprolites,and still a member here

 

NORTHWOOD-2005-Palaeontology.pdf

fleaAmphipora-ramosa-4-1000 (1).jpg

 

 

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Al Dente

Looks a little like a steinkern of a bivalve.

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Tidgy's Dad

Yes, I think it is a bivalve steinkern as well. 

You can even see the adductor muscle scars on each side in the top photo, preserved in a lighter material. 

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Paleoworld-101

I see people have doubts, understandable as you are not familiar with this location and the typical preservation here but i can assure you guys it's poop :) the rocks here are full of fish bits, and lots of little coprolites too with the same fine grained smooth texture and colour. Bigger chunks are pretty common as well but this is the biggest i've yet found.

 

Here is another one on a bit of matrix that is a bit more obvious. Up close in the matrix you can see it is full of little fish bone/scale flakes and tiny teeth.  

 

IMG_5748.thumb.JPG.1435c033ee22dae93dc8e4af52995a9c.JPG

 

 

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Coco

Hi,

 

@GeschWhat

 

Coco

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GeschWhat
8 minutes ago, Paleoworld-101 said:

I see people have doubts, understandable as you are not familiar with this location and the typical preservation here but i can assure you guys it's poop :) the rocks here are full of fish bits, and lots of little coprolites too with the same fine grained smooth texture and colour. Bigger chunks are pretty common as well but this is the biggest i've yet found.

I'm not sure about the first one, but am unfamiliar with coprolites from your location. That said, yours looks like a good candidate for the "lick test." If it is a coprolite, the lighter colored areas should stick if you touch them to the tip of your tongue. If you are not that brave you can touch it with wet fingers to see if it feels sticky. 

 

Regarding the size of fish coprolite, I would imagine they could be quite large. The only coprolites that can positively identified as being from a fish are those that have a spiral or scroll shape. I do have some spirals the size about the size of that in the first photo. The long stringy type can be from a fish, but can also be from invertebrates such as cephalopods. Since there are inclusions, we can rule out crocodylian producer because they have very efficient digestive systems. The only bits that usually survive a croc's digestive process are hair and feathers. Although there is no way to definitively identify your coprolites' producers, marine reptiles are a possibility. 

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WhodamanHD

Fish coprolites can get pretty big. Megalodon ones are huge, I can only imagine the size of coprolites of huge fish like leedsicthys would produce (though maybe not quite as big as it’s size would suggest because of their diet. I don’t think any have been found)

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Xiphactinus

That's a weird one....never seen anything like that. It's not like any coprolites I've seen in the Niobrara....

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