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Dinosaur coprolites from Late Cretaceous of India indicate omnivory

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Ashu Khosla, Karen Chin, Habib Alimohammadin & Debi Dutta (2014)
Ostracods, plant tissues, and other inclusions in coprolites from the
Late Cretaceous Lameta Formation at Pisdura, India: Taphonomical and
palaeoecological implications.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)


First record of ostracods in Upper Cretaceous coprolites from Pisdura, India.

Aquatic inclusions include diatoms, a charophyte, chrysophytes and
sponge spicules.

Faecal inclusions and phosphate content suggest intentional or
inadvertent omnivory.

The depositional setting indicates fluvio-lacustrine conditions.


A rich microbiota with distinctive plant fossils has been discovered
in Type A morphotype coprolites from the Lameta Formation of Pisdura,
in Maharashtra, India. Macerated fractions examined with scanning
electron microscopy revealed seven ostracod taxa, (?Mongolianella sp.,
Cypridea (Pseudocypridina) sp., Cypridopsis sp., Eucypris sp.,
Gomphocythere sp., G. paucisulcatus, and Paracypretta sp.), diatoms
(Aulacoseira sp.), a charophyte (Microchara sp.), and sponge spicules.
Abundant probable chrysophytes, were also observed in thin sections of
one of the coprolites. Most of the plant debris is unidentifiable, but
recognizable tissues include gymnosperm tissues, a spore, cuticle, and
leaf laminae replaced with silica. Chemical analyses reveal that the
coprolites are phosphatic, with ~ 12.2 to 16.2 wt% phosphorus. The
microfossils support a Maastrichtian age and fluvio-lacustrine
depositional conditions for the Lameta Formation at Pisdura. The
unusual combination of a phosphatic composition with plant and
microfossil dietary residues suggests that the ancient faecal
producers were intentional or inadvertent omnivores.