Composition of Combustible Concretions of the Alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus

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Science  08 Apr 1966:
Vol. 152, Issue 3719, pp. 221-223
DOI: 10.1126/science.152.3719.221


Alewives, Alosa pseudoharengus, wash ashore from Onondaga Lake, N.Y., in the form of combustible concretions in which the mnuscles are replaced by calcium salts of fatty acids. In both distribution pattern and total concentration of fatty acids the concretions differ strikingly from normal carcasses. Carbon-13: carbon-12 ratios indicate that the concretions may have formed from lipids of terrestrial or freshwater organisms or from organic pollutants of nonmarine origin, or from lipids and pollutants.