Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dinosaur Droppings

At 12 meters tall and weighing in over 6 tonnes Tyrannosaurus rex was truly a giant, and so were it's droppings. The fossilized dinosaur droppings (known as a coprolite) in the picture are half a meter long and have a volume of two litres.

Tyrannosaur coprolite from Saskatchewan (image Wikipedia)

But there is more to this stone dung than sheer size. They tell us something about the life-style of the animal that left it. These particular droppings were a filled with bones, 30 to 50% of this coprolite is made up of bones. These bones belonged to a subadult dinosaur, perhaps not surprising. Juveniles were the most likely prey even for the largest of carnivores.
The large amount of bones (and even fossilized pieces of undigested flesh) found in Tyrannosaurus coprolites also suggest that it was an active eater, quickly moving from meal to meal.

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