Abstract

Exceptionally detailed soft tissues have been identified within the fossilized feces of a large Cretaceous tyrannosaurid. Microscopic cord-like structures in the coprolitic ground mass are visible in thin section and with scanning electron microscopy. The morphology, organization, and context of these structures indicate that they are the fossilized remains of undigested muscle tissue. This unusual discovery indicates specific digestive and taphonomic conditions, including a relatively short gut-residence time, rapid lithification, and minimal diagenetic recrystallization. Rapid burial of the feces probably was facilitated by a flood event on the ancient coastal lowland plain on which the fecal mass was deposited.

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