Coprolites and their Source Animals

   It is very hard to ascribe a coprolite to a producer. To mess things up completely, animals that have a very different systematic position may produce very similar feces. There are only a few specimens that can be assigned an origin. As mentioned earlier, spiral coprolites are ascribed to early fishes. In the early 1950's and 60's, Schafer described the difference between marine worms and gastropods. Worms produce fecal pellets of ellipsoidal nature that accumulate in mounds, whereas gastropods produce their excrement in long thin trails; assuming of course that they are still in situ.

   To determine what produced what, certain factors should be looked at, and even though these factors do present implications on their own, when they are taken into account as a whole, a coprolite can be ascribed a producer.

NMC 51267; Purcahsed in Tucson, Arizona