Airing On Monday
August 15th 2016
8:00 pm eastern, 7:00 pm central and 5:00 pm pacific
Join Ken McKeighen and Ken Boorman as they welcome back Dr. Spencer Lucas from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History will talk about coprolites (fossil feces).
Coprolite (meaning “dung stone” – kopros means dung and lithikos means stone in Greek) is fossilized feces (animal waste). And no, coprolite does not smell bad – it had undergone a fossilization process. Copro means “dung,” from the Greek word kopros. The ending “-lite” is a common ending for fossil or mineral terms, coming from the Greek word lithos, which means stone. The term coprolite was coined around 1830 (when the earliest-known specimens were found).
Coprolites record the diet, feeding behavior, and habitat of prehistoric animals. Paleontologists can study the contents of a coprolite to see what one meal of an animal consisted of. For example, if the coprolite consists of partially digested plant material (leaves, seeds, bark, roots), the animal in question was probably an herbivore (plant-eater); if the coprolite contains bits of animal material (crushed bits of bones, sinew, claws), the animal in question was a carnivore (meat-eater)