Geologic age can determine the stratigraphical range of certain coprolites, thus narrowing down what the producer could have been.

   Many but not all animals produce feces proportional to their size.

   Coprolite morphology can accurately ascribe a coprolite to a producer, via the intestinal tract. So far though, only spiral coprolites belonging to primitive fishes is the only "pair" that is accepted.

   There are some cases where coprolites are found alongside a fossilized organism. It is possible that the organism did produce the scat, in its habitat and then died sometime later, but then again the fossilized feces could be the product of predators or scavengers.

   The content of a coprolite can give valuable insight to the diet of the source animal.

   Coprolite producers can be narrowed down by looking at the environment in which the coprolite was originally produced in.

   Mineralogical and organic components can be analysed to determine diet, ecosystem and origin.

   Through inclusions and other various content analyses, dietary information can also be obtained. However an organisms diet usually varies somewhat throughout its life and these variances will be reflected in its scat.

   Coprolites have even been used to determine ancient human diet. In 1963, Callen, showed that the inhabitants of Tamaulipas, Mexico (from 7000 BC to AD 1700) had a diet of vegetables, mice, snakes, lizards, grasshoppers and a few other insects as well.

Back Next