Fossilised Turtle Coprolite 10.5cm From the Eocene Period
This large Marine Turtle Coprolite (fossilised Turtle Poo) measures 10.5cm. It is from the Eocene Period, and is in the region of 50 million years old. This turtle coprolite comes from the Besiboko, Majajanga region of Madagascar. During the fossilisation process Siderite, an iron rich mineral replaced the organic matter contained within.
Coprolites are trace fossils of dung and can be from fish, animals, and also marine reptiles. The actual word ‘coprolite’ comes from the words ‘kopros‘ and ‘lithos‘ Greek for dung and stone. During the fossilisation process, minerals such as carbon carbonates and also silicates replace the original organic matter. The study of coprolites can also be a useful way of determining the diet of these ancient creatures. They can range in size from a couple of millimetres to over half a metre for coprolites from a large dinosaur. Before they were identified as fossilised dung they were thought to be fossilised fir cones or bezoar stones. Mary Anning the famous fossil collector from Lyme Regis first noticed bezoar stones within ichthyosaur fossils. This led to the first historical description in 1829 by the geologist and theologian William Buckland 1784 – 1856.