Micrograph of the Month: Inclusions in omnivore coprolite

I am so happy that I've actually managed to get some microscope work done over the past couple of weeks. It feels like forever since I had the time to do any lab work, or spend time looking down the microscope. Even on my research leave, I have been so busy writing papers and grant applications that microscope time has taken a back seat. I am currently working on the 30 or so slides we collected as part of a NERC project at Paisley Caves in Oregon. This week I have been focusing on characterising the different types of faeces that are found in the sediments. There are lots of different types - rat and bat dung, ovicaprid type pellets, and of most interest of course, the potential human coprolites. I say potential, as we can't know for sure if they are human without conducting additional biomolecular analysis, but the pictures below show a likely human candidate. In any case we can say that it is omnivore coprolite, containing both digested bone fragments and plant tissues. The yellow-orange colour is characteristic of omnivore faeces, though there are instances where herbivore dung (more usually a brownish colour) can been yellowish as well.

A. Shows a view of the coprolite on low magnification, B. shows a close up of plant epidermal tissue, and C. shows a fragment of bone.