Spiral Coprolite with Fish Inclusions

Fish scales
Possible tooth
Fish bones
Penarth, South Glamorgan, South Wales
United Kingdom
75 mm x 60 mm x 45 mm

This beautiful spiral coprolite contains numerous bone and scale inclusions.  One inclusion may be a tooth. Originally, the surface still had a good deal of gray shale matrix. Most has now been removed. The coprolite itself appears to have a hydroxyapatite crystal structure which easily fractures. 

Unfortunately, this specimen was treated with a consolidant.  Consolidants such as paraloid and butvar, although helpful when dealing with fossilized bone, can wreak havoc with coprolites.  It can interfere with chemical analysis and as it hardens, can also dislodge loose inclusions.  It can also make it hard to see very small inclusions under the microscope. With fossil bone, the consolidants can be removed with acetone. Depending on its preservation, this process can reduce coprolites to a pile of mush.  So always remember:  NEVER use glue on fossil poo!