Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fossilized feces research produces new evidence related to giant crocodile

Date:
March 22, 2010
Source:
Columbus State University
Summary:
Ancient bite marks and fossilized feces discovered in Georgia are providing new details about a giant crocodile that roamed the Southeast United States about 79 million years ago.

Artist's rendering of Deinosuchus.
Credit: Image courtesy of Columbus State University

Ancient bite marks and fossilized feces discovered in Georgia are providing new details about a giant crocodile that roamed the Southeast United States about 79 million years ago.

The giant reptile, called Deinosuchus, was up to 29 feet long and preferred living in a shallow water environment and could take down dinosaurs its own size, as new findings show.

"We're sure (Deinosuchus) ate a lot of sea turtles, but it's evident it liked to prey on dinosaurs too," said Columbus State paleontologist, Professor David Schwimmer who recently completed two studies on the giant croc with one of his students, Samantha Harrell.

Schwimmer and Harrell gave a combined presentation on the bite marks and the fossilized dung, called coprolites, at the March 13-16 Geological Society of America Northeastern/South-eastern annual meeting in Baltimore. Additionally, the coprolite study is being published as "Coprolites of Deinosuchus and other Crocodylians from the Upper Cretaceous of Western Georgia, USA" in a special symposium volume of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, a publication of international interest.

The studies detail how bite marks on dinosaur bones discovered in various locations around the country, and large fossilized dung droppings discovered near Columbus, Ga., have been linked to the Deinosuchus.

The dung fossils are the first such documented samples from the Deinosuchus and help confirm the giant, ancient croc preferred living in the marine shallows. Meanwhile, the separate bite mark findings reveal aspect of the creature's eating habits.

"In some cases we're talking about a 29-foot Deinosuchus taking down a 29-foot dinosaur," Schwimmer said.

A likely victim, Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis -- a relative of Tyrannosaurus rex -- was discovered near Montgomery, Ala., and named in 2005 by Schwimmer and a pair of colleagues.

In spring 2009 Schwimmer asked Harrell to take command of a project as an independent study course to gather and analyze fossilized feces he had started to recover from a fossil hot spot along the banks of the Hannahatchee Creek in Stewart County, a major tributary of the Chattahoochee River, south of where the Piedmont meets the Coastal Plain.

Harrell, a senior geology major from Girdler, Ky., worked with 20 samples of fossil crocodylian dung. She attributed six of the large spindle shaped masses, 8-13 centimeters long, to Deinosuchus.

Harrell explained coprolites are studied in order to convey information about the lifestyles of the dead and buried. She discovered sand and lots of shell fragments, signifying the crocs lived in a shallow, brackish, warm-water environment -- likely near the mouth of a river where it opened to a sea with sandy shoreline and an abundance of sea turtles for its diet.

Harrell will present her coprolite research as part of the March 27 Georgia Academy of Sciences annual meeting hosted by Columbus State University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbus State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbus State University. "Fossilized feces research produces new evidence related to giant crocodile." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322113832.htm>.
Columbus State University. (2010, March 22). Fossilized feces research produces new evidence related to giant crocodile. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322113832.htm
Columbus State University. "Fossilized feces research produces new evidence related to giant crocodile." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322113832.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Considered lost for over two centuries, the original manuscript of one of the most famous works of Mozart's Sonata in A major has been uncovered in a library in Budapest. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins