Coprolite with Fur or Feather Inclusions

Turd of a Feather?
Bone (bird?)
Feather or fur
United States
South Dakota US

Whether bad weather or global pandemic, sometimes you just have to play with your poop (the fossilized variety). Anyone who has played with coprolites knows that they are little jackets that preserve small treasures that might not otherwise survive fossilization or erosion. Here we have just one example. This was just a small coprolite fragment I had picked up a few years back. From the surface, it didn't look like much. You could barely see a little bit of bone peeking through the surface. So I decided to do a little digging. First I wanted to soften it up a little. I soaked it in white vinegar (otherwise known as acetic acid) for about an hour. Then under the microscope to explore.

As I picked the soft material from around the bone with an X-acto blade, some of the softened material broke free and WOO-HOO!  A slightly fanned array of small hollow tubes was exposed. Why is this so exciting? That is what fur and feathers can look like in fossil poop! Because this is slightly fanned and the bone fragment inclusion is small and hollow (like a bird bone), I'm guessing feathers. Take a look at the photo comparing a wet feather and the tube inclusions, Then you can judge for yourself.

To view other coprolites from this group, visit Have a Nice Prey!