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Fields & Applications Food, Beverage & Agriculture

Image of the Month

Looking Out for Number Two

Those of a delicate constitution, put down your lunch: you’re looking at fossil feces. Known as coprolites, these fossilized food remains can provide insights into “ancient trophic relations” (1) – prehistoric food chains. Using propagation phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRμCT), researchers from France and Sweden segmented coprolites into 3D models, and discovered 230-million-year-old remains of articulated fish scales and lepidotrichia (segmented fin rays) in what is thought to be the fossilized droppings of a lungfish.

Reference: M Qvarnström et al., “Synchrotron phase-contrast microtomography of coprolites generates novel palaeobiological data”, Scientific Reports, 7 (2017).

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About the Author
Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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