From time to time, paleontologists come upon astonishingly complete fossils of prehistoric beasts, but rare is the discovery that yields evidence of the digestive system in action.
Researchers recently studied one of those fossils. The flying reptile is a member of the pterosaur family, a type not new to science, but these particular remains are extraordinary as they include matter and impressions believed to be both food and feces. What the reptile’s last meal was isn’t abundantly clear, but the team suggests it was a fish.
The identification of fossilized waste, which the scientific community politely calls coprolite, is also speculative. If it does turn out to be so, it will be the first discovery of such material in a creature of this kind.
Studying digestive system contents can lead to a much greater understanding of the pterosaur’s behaviors and surroundings.