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Shark bites found in ancient poop

A series of coprolites (fossilized poop) have been found showing bite marks from an ancient species of shark. But why were they biting poop? I thought this was an interesting article to read and I enjoyed how it reveals the researchers’ thought-process and shows you how they reached their conclusions.

The coprolite that had been severed, given the label CMM-V-3245, was not especially helpful in identifying the biter, but the other coprolite (CMM-V-2244) preserved a row of tooth marks. The scientists made a silicone cast of the impressions to see if the punctures held any clues as to the identity of the biter. What they found was that the animal that had made them had a single row of asymmetrical teeth, and while there were as many as eight shark genera with this characteristic, most of these were deemed “innocent” on the basis of anatomical peculiarities. The best fits for the tooth marks were the genera Physogaleus and Galeocerdo (which, in fact, might be synonymous), sharks that, like their living relative the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) possessesed asymmetrical teeth in the shape of a bent A.

With the list of potential culprits successfully narrowed down Godfrey and Smith were left with the question of how the bite marks had been made. Even though coprolites are relatively common at the Calvert Cliffs site, no one had ever found a shark-bitten piece of shit before, so they had no other reference to go by. They ultimately settled on several possible scenarios.

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