Scatological Origin of Microvertebrate Fossil Accumulations

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Science  26 Jul 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4148, pp. 349-350
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4148.349


Small-mammal bone found in Recent carnivore droppings (scat) is identical in appearance with that in many Mesozoic and Tertiary microvertebrate fossil collections. Such fossil specimens passed into or through the digestive tracts of carnivores before being left as scat that was later reworked into sedimentary rocks. The term "coprocoenosis" is proposed for such an assemblage. Caution is urged in drawing conclusions about the composition of paleocommunities because carnivores can catch prey representing several different communities and leave a mixed assemblage in a particular depositional environment.