Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

160 Million-year-old Vomit Reveals Dietary Secrets Of Jurassic ’dinosaur’

12.02.2002


The world`s oldest fossilised vomit, believed to have come from a large marine reptile that lived 160 million years ago, has been discovered in a clay quarry in Peterborough by the University of Greenwich`s Professor Peter Doyle and Dr Jason Wood of the Open University.



The vomit contains the remains of dozens of belemnites - squid-like shellfish that lived in abundance in the seas around what is now Britain. The belemnites were eaten in great numbers by ichthyosaurs, large marine reptiles (related to land-dwelling dinosaurs) common in the warm seas of the Jurassic era, similar in size and shape to dolphins.

Having eaten dozens of belemnites, an ichthyosaur would regurgitate their indigestible bullet shaped shells in much the same way that an owl does after eating a mouse whole. It is these shells that have been discovered in the fossil vomit.


"We believe that this is the first time the existence of fossil vomit on a grand scale has been proven beyond reasonable doubt," says geologist Professor Doyle. "The Peterborough belemnite shells, viewed under a powerful scanning electron microscope, have revealed `acid etching` marks caused by digestive fluids from the gut of a marine reptile, proving that the belemnites had been eaten by a predator. The fact that most of these belemnites were juveniles reinforces our view that they did not die of old age."

"It is highly unlikely that these shells passed through the ichthyosaur`s intestines and were excreted as droppings, as they would have damaged the soft tissue of the reptile`s internal organs," continued Professor Doyle. "The only alternative is that the shells were vomited out, in much the same way that modern-day sperm whales regurgitate the indigestible beaks of squid they have eaten."

Nick Davison | alphagalileo

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Drones survey African wildlife
11.07.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>