Like some modern birds, it may have used gastroliths
, or stomach stones, to break down hard foods like seeds, and it was likely a plant-eater, said Wang.
Fossilized tracks and trails, fossil eggs, fossilized turd or dung and gastroliths
(smooth rounded stones that were swallowed by large planteating dinosaurs to aid digestion) are other, less common, forms of fossils.
This specimen is important because it preserves gastroliths
(Whittle and Onorato 2000; Fedak 2007).
The discovery of the gastroliths
associated with this plesiosaur specimen were particularly exciting because most plesiosaur gastroliths
are found associated with the long-neck morphotype," Schmeisser explained, adding that "the stones described in our paper are much lighter and smaller than those found in long-neck plesiosaurs.
are also found in other decapods such as lobsters and some land crabs (Luquet and Marin, 2004).
The digestive tracts of both plesiosaurs also contained dozens of gastroliths
, stones that paleontologists speculate were used to grind up hard-shelled prey and thereby aid digestion.
The only non-molluscan fauna include two small crayfish gastroliths
Stomachs with calcified gastroliths
were subsequently disregarded, thereby effectively eliminating from the present study all premolt lobsters from stage [D.
One section I found most fascinating was Chapter Six on gastroliths
Immediately prior to molting, the crayfish absorb the calcium from their shells and store the mineral as a pair of white disks called gastroliths
(literally, "belly stones").
n A sauropod's stomach could hold up to half a tonne and had large stones inside it - gastroliths
- to help grind down and digest the food.
One specimen (GCSU 4462) contained two crayfish gastroliths
and a few isolated legs in its gut.