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Multi-proxy analyses of Late Cretaceous coprolites from Germany

Qvarnström, Martin; Anagnostakis, Stavros; Lindskog, Anders LU ; Scheer, Udo; Vajda, Vivi LU ; Rasmussen, Bo W.; Lindgren, Johan LU and Eriksson, Mats E. LU (2019) In Lethaia
Abstract

A total of 462 coprolites from three localities exposing Upper Cretaceous deposits in the Münster 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 Münster Basin. The presence of borings and other traces on... (More)

A total of 462 coprolites from three localities exposing Upper Cretaceous deposits in the Münster 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 Münster 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.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Cenomanian, coprolites, Late Cretaceous, Münster Basin, palaeoecology
in
Lethaia
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:85065175668
ISSN
0024-1164
DOI
10.1111/let.12330
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8df22c03-b82b-4551-abe7-279a8d7e9b56
date added to LUP
2019-05-24 13:08:26
date last changed
2019-09-09 08:39:38
@article{8df22c03-b82b-4551-abe7-279a8d7e9b56,
  abstract     = {<p>A total of 462 coprolites from three localities exposing Upper Cretaceous deposits in the Münster 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 Münster 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.</p>},
  author       = {Qvarnström, Martin and Anagnostakis, Stavros and Lindskog, Anders and Scheer, Udo and Vajda, Vivi and Rasmussen, Bo W. and Lindgren, Johan and Eriksson, Mats E.},
  issn         = {0024-1164},
  keyword      = {Cenomanian,coprolites,Late Cretaceous,Münster Basin,palaeoecology},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Lethaia},
  title        = {Multi-proxy analyses of Late Cretaceous coprolites from Germany},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/let.12330},
  year         = {2019},
}