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Multi-proxy analyses of Late Cretaceous coprolites from Germany
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7998-2243
Nikolaou Plastira 3, Thessaloniki 57500, Greece.
Lund Univ, Dept Geol, Solvegatan 12, S-22362 Lund, Sweden.
Sat Matasaru 93, RO-137295 Com Matasaru, Romania.
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2019 (English)In: Lethaia: an international journal of palaeontology and stratigraphy, ISSN 0024-1164, E-ISSN 1502-3931, Vol. 52, no 4, p. 550-569Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A total of 462 coprolites from three localities exposing Upper Cretaceous deposits in the Munster Basin, northwestern Germany, have been subjected to an array of analytical techniques, with the aim of elucidating ancient trophic structures and predator-prey interactions. The phosphatic composition, frequent bone inclusions, size and morphology collectively suggest that most, if not all, coprolites were produced by carnivorous (predatory or scavenging) vertebrates. The bone inclusions further indicate that the coprolite producers preyed principally upon fish. Putative host animals include bony fish, sharks and marine reptiles - all of which have been previously recorded from the Munster Basin. The presence of borings and other traces on several coprolites implies handling by coprophagous organisms. Remains of epibionts are also common, most of which have been identified as the encrusting bivalve Atreta. Palynological analyses of both the coprolites and host rocks reveal a sparse assemblage dominated by typical Late Cretaceous dinoflagellates, and with sub-ordinate fern spores, conifer pollen grains and angiosperm pollen grains. The dinoflagellate key taxon Exochosphaeridium cenomaniense corroborates a Cenomanian age for the Plenus Marl, from which most studied coprolites derive. The findings of this study highlight the potential of a multi-proxy approach when it comes to unravelling the origin, composition and importance of coprolites in palaeoecosystem analyses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 52, no 4, p. 550-569
Keywords [en]
Cenomanian, coprolites, Late Cretaceous, Munster Basin, palaeoecology
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-394948DOI: 10.1111/let.12330ISI: 000484980900008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-394948DiVA, id: diva2:1362761
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-04264Available from: 2019-10-21 Created: 2019-10-21 Last updated: 2019-10-21Bibliographically approved

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Qvarnström, Martin

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