Lipid analysis of vertebrate coprolites

Fiona L Gill, Ian D Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Lipid analysis is a relatively new approach to obtaining paleobiological and paleoecological information from coprolites. Lipids in feces are derived from multiple sources, including diet, digestive processes and digestive tract micro-organisms. Feces from herbivorous animals contain a much wider range of lipids than those from carnivores due to the greater diversity of lipids in dietary plants, compared to prey animals, and the more complex digestive systems of herbivores. Depending on their structure and their preservation in fossilized material, fecal lipids can provide general or very specific biological and ecological information. Reports concerning the lipid analysis of coprolites have been scarce until recently, but this approach has the potential to reveal unique information about ancient animals and environments and should therefore be considered as a valuable tool for analysis given suitable specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalNew Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Lipid
  • analysis
  • Coprolite
  • Vertebrate


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