Which reveals more about an ancient animal; a coprolite or a trace fossil?

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megamind-616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Trace fossils are indirect remains of an organism from the past, instead of a cast or mold of the organism’s body part(s). Trace fossils reveal activities, not the morphology, of an organism. Examples of trace fossils include footprints, burrows, and tracks.

Technically, a coprolite is a trace fossil. A coprolite is a fossilized fecal matter of an organism, which reveals more about ancient animals than most other trace fossils. “Copro” is Greek for “dung”, while “lithikos” is Greek for being “stone-like”. Evidence of organisms’ diets can be obtained via coprolites. Coprolites alludes to whether or not the organism was a vegetarian, carnivore, or omnivore. If a vegetarian, coprolites give supporting evidence for the type of flora that was present at the time the organism was living. Bones in a coprolite are indicative of carnivorous behaviors. Parasites within coprolites can reveal evidence of diseases that were once present.

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