Coprolites from the Cretaceous Bearpaw Formation of Saskatchewan

W.C. Mahaney, R.W. Barendregt, C.C.R. Allen, M.W. Milner, D. Bray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Coprolites from the Beechy Member of the Cretaceous Bearpaw Formation, southern Saskatchewan, presumably deposited by one or more species of mosasaur or large fish/shark, were recovered and analyzed using SEM/EDS. The data reveal the presence of pseudomorphous coccoid bacteria, potential filamentous bacteria, bacterial endospores and filamentous fungi. No recorded fossil plant or bone material could be identified, either within the highly compressed coprolitic mat-flattened full coprolite bolus - of recovered marine sediment encased in a mixed mat of hematite-apatite primary minerals heavily coated with Ca-smectite and nontronite, or the full coprolite bolus. The presence of fossil bacteria with morphological characteristics similar to those of endospores in other environments suggests that only robust microbial forms such as these survive diagenesis, partly with some carbon still intact, the remainder replaced with silica and iron. The data support the view that coprolites can serve as a useful source of information on the ancient microbial world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalCretaceous Research
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2013

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