In a fossilized chunk of ancient reptilian poo, scientists have uncovered complete specimens of a new beetle species. The finding, described June 30 in Current Biology, suggests that fossilized dung could contain more details about past life than previously thought.
Such ancient feces have been “largely overlooked,” says evolutionary biologist Martin Qvarnström of Uppsala University in Sweden. “But they often contain very well-preserved fossils. They’re like hidden treasure chests.”
Fossilized dung, also known as coprolite, can reveal insights about the diets of extinct creatures that body fossils can’t. For example, coprolites have been used to show that some dinosaurs with plant-based diets also ate crustaceans (SN: 9/21/17).
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