coprolitic /kop'reuh lit"ik/, adj.
/kop"reuh luyt'/, n.
a stony mass consisting of fossilized fecal matter of animals.
[1820-30; COPRO- + -LITE]

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      the fossilized excrement of animals. The English geologist William Buckland (Buckland, William) coined the term in 1835 after he and fossilist Mary Anning recognized that certain convoluted masses occurring in the Lias rock strata of Gloucestershire and dating from the Early Jurassic Period (200 million to 176 million years ago) had a form that would have been produced by their passage in the soft state through the intestines of reptiles or fishes. These bodies had long been known as fossil fir cones and bezoar stones (hardened undigestible contents of the intestines). Buckland's conjecture that they were of fecal origin and similar to the excrement of hyenas (hyena) was confirmed upon analysis; they were found to consist essentially of calcium phosphate and carbonate, and they not infrequently contained fragments of unaltered bone. The name coprolites, from the Greek kopros (“dung”) and lithos (“stone”), was accordingly given them by Buckland. Coprolites often preserve the remains of plants and small animals that would otherwise be destroyed or lost. They are therefore important sources of concentrated information about ancient biota and environments.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coprolite — Cop ro*lite, n. [Gr. ko pros dung + lite.] (Paleon.) A piece of petrified dung; a fossil excrement. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coprolite — fossil dung, 1829, from COPRO (Cf. copro ) + lite, from French, for lithe, from Gk. lithos stone …   Etymology dictionary

  • coprolite — [käp′rō līt΄, käp′rəlīt΄] n. [ COPRO + LITE] fossilized excrement of animals coprolitic [käp΄rōlit′ik, käp΄rəlit′ik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Coprolite — A coprolite of a carnivorous dinosaur found in southwestern Saskatchewan. A coprolite is fossilized animal dung. Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal s behaviour (in this case …   Wikipedia

  • coprolite — ● coprolithe ou coprolite nom masculin Excrément fossilisé. Fragment de matière fécale durcie et calcifiée prenant l aspect d un petit caillou …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • coprolite — noun Date: 1829 fossilized excrement • coprolitic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coprolite — noun fossilized dung …   Wiktionary

  • coprolite —    The fossilized excrement of vertebrates such as fishes, reptiles, an mammals, larger than a fecal pellet, measuring up to 20 cm in length, characterized by an ovoid to elongate form, a surface marked by annular convolutions, and a brown or… …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • coprolite — [ kɒprə(ʊ)lʌɪt] noun Palaeontology a piece of fossilized dung …   English new terms dictionary

  • coprolite — cop·ro·lite …   English syllables

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