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Re: But they're a bit fuzzy on the facts...



> skeptics_talk@vmetze.mrl.uiuc.edu wrote:
> > The deposit contained
> > hundreds of bits of animal dung and also regurgitated pellets
> > resembling those coughed up by modern birds of prey. 
> 
> ok, so what was re-gurgitating them?  Birds or dinosaurs?  Any
> clues? Which was in the area and big enough to eat mammals?  Nothing
> in the article about any of it.....
> 
> -Betty

The fossils are of Late Paleocene age, a time at which there were no
dinosaurs around any more (even if some of them may have survived into
the Early Paleocene), so the regurgitated pellets must be attributed
to birds. I don't know  much about Early Tertiary birds, but fossil
owls of comparable age are known, at least elsewhere in the world
(North America and Europe).

The coprolites associated with these pellets are attributed to
carnivorous mammals. Three different groups of mammalian predators
were found with the coprolites:
(1) Mesonychids, which were generally
large bear-like mammals and the probable ancestors of whales.
(2) Creodonts, an extinct group of primitive carnivores. 
(3) Viverravids,which are the earliest known representative of true carnivores 
(order
Carnivora).

Martin Jehle, Dipl.-Ing. (FH)
martin.jehle@klinik.uni-regensburg.de
Regensburg, Germany