Coprolite (probably of Hyena) found in Calatayud, Spain
A coprolite is fossilized faeces. Coprolites are trace fossils, not body fossils. They give evidence of the animal's behaviour (in this case, its diet).
The name is taken from the Greek words κόπρος (kopros, meaning "dung") and λίθος (lithos, meaning "stone"). They were first described by William Buckland in 1829.
Images for kids
A large coprolite of a carnivorous dinosaur found in Harding County, South Dakota, USA. Photo courtesy of the Poozeum
A large Miocene coprolite from South Carolina, USA.
A large coprolite from South Carolina, USA.
Age: White River Oligocene; Location: Northwest Nebraska; Dimensions: Varies (25 mm X 20 mm); Weight: 8-10 g; Features: Many small inclusions and one has a complete toe bone from a small deer called a leptomeryx.
A Miocene pseudocoprolite from Washington state. They are commonly mistaken for coprolites because of their appearance and shape; they are actually of inorganic origin. Scale in mm. See Spencer (1993).
In Spanish: Coprolito para niños