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Fossil poop shows fishy lunches from 200 million years ago

Fossil poop shows fishy lunches from 200 million years ago
CT scan of coprolite specimen, BRSMG Cf15546, in different views, showing tuberculated bone (blue) from a fish skull, and two vertebrae from the tail of the marine reptile Pachystropheus, in yellow and green. Credit: Marie Cueille, and Palaeobiology Research Group, University of Bristol

A new study of coprolites, fossil poop, shows the detail of food webs in the ancient shallow seas around Bristol in south-west England. One hungry fish ate part of the head of another fish before snipping off the tail of a passing reptile.


Marie Cueille, a visiting student at the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, was working on a collection of hundreds of fish poops from the Rhaetian bone bed near Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, dated at 205 million years ago.

She applied new scanning technology to look inside these coprolites and found an amazing array of food remains.

Marie said: “The ancient fishes

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