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GEOREF RECORD

Dinosaurs, dung beetles, and conifers; participants in a Cretaceous food web

Karen Chin and Bruce D. Gill
Dinosaurs, dung beetles, and conifers; participants in a Cretaceous food web
Palaios (June 1996) 11 (3): 280-285

Abstract

Late Cretaceous trace fossils from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana are interpreted as herbivorous dinosaur feces reworked by scarabaeine dung beetles. These irregular blocks of comminuted plant material occur in isolated patches in fluvial flood plain sediments near dinosaur bone beds and nesting grounds. Numerous burrows in and around the specimens indicate significant invertebrate activity which suggests intense competition for a rich food resource. Some of the burrows are backfilled with organic matter that had been translocated from the organic mass (dung pat) into the adjacent sediment. Paracoprid dung beetles are the only extant organisms known to make similar caches. These unique ichnofossils provide evidence for commensal interactions between dung beetles, herbivorous dinosaurs, and conifers. This find also reveals a pathway through which fecal resources were recycled and suggests that scarabs evolved coprophagy through association with dinosaurs.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 11
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Dinosaurs, dung beetles, and conifers; participants in a Cretaceous food web
Affiliation: University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Geological Sciences, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Pages: 280-285
Published: 199606
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 36
Accession Number: 1996-071520
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
N47°30'00" - N48°08'60", W113°01'00" - W111°25'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Agriculture Canada, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 199622
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