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Beetle-bearing coprolites possibly reveal the diet of a Late Triassic dinosauriform
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7998-2243
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology.
Polish Acad Sci, Inst Paleobiol, Twarda 51-55, PL-00818 Warsaw, Poland;Univ Warsaw, Dept Palaeobiol & Evolut, Fac Biol, Biol & Chem Res Ctr, Zwirki & Wigury 101, PL-02089 Warsaw, Poland.
Univ Warsaw, Dept Palaeobiol & Evolut, Fac Biol, Biol & Chem Res Ctr, Zwirki & Wigury 101, PL-02089 Warsaw, Poland.
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2019 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 6, no 3, article id 181042Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Diets of extinct animals can be difficult to analyse if no direct evidence, such as gut contents, is preserved in association with body fossils. Inclusions from coprolites (fossil faeces), however, may also reflect the diet of the host animal and become especially informative if the coprolite producer link can be established. Here we describe, based on propagation phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRμCT), the contents of five morphologically similar coprolites collected from two fossil-bearing intervals from the highly fossiliferous Upper Triassic locality at Krasiejow in Silesia, Poland. Beetle remains, mostly elytra, and unidentified exoskeleton fragments of arthropods are the most conspicuous inclusions found in the coprolites. The abundance of these inclusions suggests that the coprolite producer deliberately targeted beetles and similar small terrestrial invertebrates as prey, but the relatively large size of the coprolites shows that it was not itself a small animal. The best candidate from the body fossil record of the locality is the dinosauriform Silesaurus opolensis Dzik, 2003, which had an anatomy in several ways similar to those of bird-like neotheropod dinosaurs and modern birds. We hypothesize that the beak-like jaws of S. opolensis were used to efficiently peck small insects off the ground, a feeding behaviour analogous to some extant birds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 6, no 3, article id 181042
Keywords [en]
coprolites, palaeoecology, Dinosauromorpha, beetle elytra, insectivore
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383880DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181042ISI: 000465470300008PubMedID: 31031991OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-383880DiVA, id: diva2:1322819
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-05248Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Qvarnström, MartinVikberg Wernström, JoelAhlberg, Per E.Niedzwiedzki, Grzegorz

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