Explore the Fascinating World of Prehistoric Poop
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What are coprolites? Coprolite definition. Fossilized Poop
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Welcome to our online coprolite exhibit, where you’ll find a wealth of information about some of the specimens in our rich holdings. We hope this information will inspire you to explore this fascinating subject matter further.
The word “coprolite” comes from the Greek words Kopros Lithos, meaning “dung stone”. Basically coprolites are very old pieces of poop that have become fossilized over a very long time . They do not smell and most of their original structure has been replaced by mineral deposits such as calcium carbonates and silicates. Coprolites come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they have been discovered on every continent on earth.
It is extremely difficult to determine what ancient creature originally pooped the coprolite specimen. However, many prehistoric coprolites resemble modern feces. This helps Paleoscatologists (people who study very old poop) guess what prehistoric creature made the poop. Scientists and fossil enthusiasts have discovered coprolites that can be traced to tyrannosaurids, crocodilians, sharks, fish, termites, shrimp, and even humans.
Each specimen's caption includes the age, formation, location discovered, dimensions, weight, and interesting features. If you have additional information about any of the specimens you see, we would be happy to hear from you. We routinely update the galleries shown here, so check back frequently.
Awesome pieces of prehistoric poop.
These coprolites were discovered in the Moroccan deserts of northern Africa. They are from the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years old).
Matrix is the sedimentary rock or mass that that has formed around fossilized feces or other organisms.
Some of the finest coprolite specimens in the world come from the river beds and coasts of South Carolina. Fossil hunters use scuba equipment and weights to sink to the bottom of the murky rivers. Once on the river floor they use metal rods or screwdrivers to search the sediment for fossils.
Paleontologists believe the majority of these coprolites were created by some type of ancient crocodilian. This theory is based on the overall appearance, shape, and lack of large inclusions. Crocodilians have extremely acidic digestive systems to break down the bones and scales of their prey.
The majority of these Florida beauties are from the Pleistocene Epoch (2,500,000 years old to 12,000 years old).
All of these specimens are fossilized, even though they may look fresh and smelly.
These amazing fossilized turds are from South Carolina, USA and are believed to be from ancient crocodilians. The impressions on the first three coprolites are similar to the bite marks of garfish.
The fourth coprolite has triangular impressions similar to the bite marks of sharks.
The smaller images above and below the fourth coprolite show the cast made from the bite mark impressions.
The bite marks on coprolites 2-4 contain a temporary yellow filling to help make the impressions stand out.
These well preserved coprolites were dumped approximately 50 million years ago in an ancient lake that existed in what is now southwest Wyoming. The unusual chemistry of the freshwater lake prevented quick decomposition and scavenging. Limestone sediments other organic material covered the turds, and other critters that met their demise, to create one of the best fossil sites in the world. They are from the Green River Formation of the Eocene epoch (53.5 to 48.5 million years old).
Inclusions are solid foreign objects encased in a mass. The most common coprolite inclusions are bones, scales, teeth, and plant fragments. This gallery features coprolites from various geographical areas with inclusions. If you want to see a modern day example of feces with inclusions - eat some corn and peanuts.
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