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|Huge, Fossilized T. rex Dung Found
July 17, 1998
A Tyrannosaurus rex coprolite (fossilized feces) was recently found in Saskatchewan, Canada by a team of Royal Saskatchewan Museum paleontologists. These scientists were looking for fossils near a T. rex that was being excavated.
This coprolite is a whitish-green rock that is 17 inches (44 cm) long, 6 inches (15 cm) high and 5 inches (13 cm) wide.
Dr. Karen Chin performed detailed research and analysis on the ichnofossil and determined that it was indeed the fossil of an organic substance. She also examined the fragments contained within the dung. The coprolite contains chunks of bones from an herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur which was eaten by the T. rex. This bone fragment is perhaps part of the head frill of a Triceratops.
Bone fragments from Triceratops, a giant plant-eating dinosaur, were found in T. rex's dung.
This specimen dates from 65 million year ago - the very end of the Cretaceous period, right before the huge K-T extinction.
Since this coprolite contains bones, it is from a theropod (the meat-eating dinosaurs). This coprolite is assumed to be from T. rex because of its huge size (this is the largest coprolite ever found from a meat-eater). T. rex is the only meat-eating dinosaur from that time and place we know of which could produce such large feces. This fossil provdes evidence that T. rex crushed bones before swallowing them, since the bones in this coprolite were broken up. This is the first T. rex coprolite found.
This coprolite is now in the scientific collection of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum; a replica of it is on exhibit.
(ref. Chin, K. . . . G.M. Erickson, et al. 1998. A king-sized theropod coprolite. Nature 393(June 18):680 )
A page on Tyrannosaurus rex.
Information about coprolites (fossilized dung) and other trace fossils.
Analyzing dinosaurs' diets.
Other fossils found in Canada.
Chart of geological time.
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