Around 150 million years ago in what's now Utah, an animal chugged down a small frog and a salamander. It then lost its lunch. Fast forward to modern times, when a team of paleontologists identified and investigated the fossilized vomit, unraveling a mystery along the way.
The researchers published a study on the puke in the journal Palaios late last month. The scientists found frog bones, including some that likely came from a tadpole, and bits from a salamander. "Aspects of this new fossil, relating to the arrangement and concentration of the bones in the deposit, the mix of animals, and the chemistry of the bones and matrix, suggested that the pile of bones was regurgitated out by a predator," Utah State Parks said in a statement on Tuesday.
[...] The fossil site, famous for plant remains, was a pond long ago, home to amphibians and fish. The researchers worked out that a bowfin fish most did the vomiting. It's possible the ancient fish upchucked to distract a predator. Utah State Parks noted the paleontologists jokingly referred to the fossil find as the "fish-puked tadpole."
[...] The researchers hope to find other, similar fossils within Utah's Morrison Formation, a layer of history that also preserves many dinosaur remains. Puke might not seem like the most glamorous paleontology subject, but it's a fascinating (and slightly gross) window into life long ago.
What do you suppose will remain from our world millions of years into the future? [hubie]
John R. Foster, Adrian P. Hunt, and James I. Kirkland, SIGNIFICANCE OF A SMALL REGURGITALITE CONTAINING LISSAMPHIBIAN BONES, FROM THE MORRISON FORMATION (UPPER JURASSIC), WITHIN A DIVERSE PLANT LOCALITY DEPOSIT IN SOUTHEASTERN UTAH, USA Palaios, 2022. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2021.058