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Gastric pellets with bird remains from the early Eocene of Messel

Gerald Mayr and Stephan F. K. Schaal
Gastric pellets with bird remains from the early Eocene of Messel
Palaios (September 2016) 31 (9): 447-451


Gastric pellets (i.e., regurgitated indigestible food remains) are rare in the fossil record. Here, we describe three gastric pellets with bird remains from the early Eocene Messel fossil site in Germany. A small, ball-shaped specimen that contains various broken bird bones resembles the pellets of owls and may have been produced by the Messel owl Palaeoglaux artophoron, which would make it the oldest owl pellet identified so far. The two other gastric pellets with bird remains have more elongated shapes and probably stem from snakes or other squamates. Both contain partially articulated bird skeletons, one of which belongs to an undescribed species that is otherwise unknown from the abundant avian fossil record from Messel. The fossil pellets described here therefore not only contribute to a better understanding of the avifauna of Messel, but are also important for reconstructing trophic webs and add to an understanding of the early Eocene Messel ecosystem.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 31
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Gastric pellets with bird remains from the early Eocene of Messel
Affiliation: Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt, Ornithological Section, Frankfurt, Germany
Pages: 447-451
Published: 201609
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 33
Accession Number: 2016-092837
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
N49°55'60" - N49°55'60", E08°43'60" - E08°43'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201645
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