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Re: Theropod eating and attacking

On Mon, 25 Aug 1997 20:53:34 -0700 Jonathon Woolf <jwoolf@erinet.com>
>jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
>> On Sun, 24 Aug 1997 08:15:14 -0700 Jonathon Woolf 
>> writes:
>  <snip>
>> >I have a vague impression from somewhere that fossilized owl 
>> >have been found.  I've never heard of "dinosaur pellets," though.
>> >Coprolites, yes, but not pellets.
>> Owl pellets fossilize? Really? Cool!  If so, that's a good point.  
>> maybe dino pellets were not recognized as pellets and mistaken for
>> coprolites?  Or perhaps there is a preservational bias against 
>> pellets?
>I don't _know_ that they do, but I don't see why they couldn't.  If
>coprolites can fossilize, why not owl pellets?  

Mickey Rowe was nice enough to look up and give me a reference to a
pellet paper.  I had just thought that pellets were so loose and
disorganized and full of hair that their preservation would be dicey at
best.  After all, birds of prey favor forests, and that environment
favors decomposition over preservation.

Here is Mickey's reference, with abstract:

   Meng, J. Multituberculate and other mammal hair recovered from
   Palaeogene excreta (with Wyss, A R), Letter to Nature, 385, 712
   Menini, A. See under Kurahashi, T, 385, 725
x AB: Evidence of hair from several extinct mammals has been recovered
from a  x
x rich accumulation of fossil excrement from the Late Palaeocene beds of
Inner x
x Mongolia, China. This highly unusual and previously undocumented       
x depositional occurrence consists of hundreds of mammalian carnivore    
x coprolites (fossil faeces) and a lesser number of probably raptorial
bird    x
x regurgitalites (fossil pellets). The fossil hair occurs as impressions
and   x
x natural casts in the extremely fine-grained, calcareous matrix that
cements  x
x the skeletal remains within these faecal structures and preserves even
the   x
x cuticular scale pattern on individual hair. Hair from at least four    
x mammalian taxa, most notably the multituberculate Lambdopsalis bulla
has     x
x been identified. This record constitutes the first tangible evidence
that,   x
x along with monotremes and therian mammals, multituberculates were
hirsuite,  x
x and lends support for the presence of this mammalian feature in the
most     x
x recent common ancestor of these three groups.                          

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.