Coprolite Question

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Denise Porcello 3 years, 2 months ago.

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    Denise Porcello

    I’m reading a book about Mary Anning, and it says she re-hydrated coprolite and it had a powerful smell. How is this possible? I was under the impression that fossils were not “organic” any more.  And on that subject… the book also said she would find coprolite with her discoveries and include it with the fossil. Why is this preserved and not other soft material like cartilage??



    Eleanor Gardner

    Hi @denise-porcello – interesting question. I am not familiar with coprolite re-hydration, but apparently it is a technique used widely in archaeology for analysis of ancient human paleofeces. The method was also used in analysis of coprolite from an extinct New Zealand moa, as described in this PLOS One paper: I also know that a de-mineralization technique (perhaps this is more akin to what Mary Anning was doing?) was used by Dr. Mary Higby Schweitzer at NC State to enable study of soft tissues preserved in a T. rex femur. See more here:


    Denise Porcello

    Thanks for the information and links!

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