The Dung File consists of a list of references dealing with pollen, parasites, and plant remains in coprolites and latrine fills from archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sites. The focus is on studies in North America.

The Dung File is subdivided into eleven sections: four depend on the origin of the deposits being investigated (Part 1: Mostly Human, Part 2: Mainly Mammal, Part 3: Animal Middens, Part 4: Other Critters), there are two broader categories, Part 5: General and Review Articles, Part 6: Field and Laboratory Methods, one focussed on theses, Part 7: Theses, and two focussed on modern comparative studies, Part 8: Comparative Studies - Human and Part 9: Comparative Studies - Mammal. Finally, there are a number of articles from news magazines and the popular press (Part 10: Popular Press and Commentary) and some less readily available items listed in Part 11: Conference Abstracts and Grey Literature.

The call numbers are for the library system at the University of Alberta. The remarks in black are my comments.

Part 9: Comparative Studies - Mammal


Anderson, S., and F. Ertug-Yaras 1998
Fuel, Fodder and Faeces: An Ethnographic and Botanical Study of Dung Fuel Use in Central Anatolia. Environmental Archaeology 1:99-109.
Ethnographic survey of modern dung fuel use. Also analysis of plants in dung and fodder samples. Assess taphonomy of dung used as fuel ("dung cakes"). Two villages in central Anatolia were the focus of study, where animal dung is still the primary source of fuel. Straw and wild/weed seeds are main component of dung samples. Could distinguish between the dung of grazing and fodder-fed animals.

Baker, G., L. H. B. Jones, and I. D. Wardrop 1961
Opal Phytoliths and Mineral Particles in the Rumen of Sheep. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 12(3):462- 472.
AEU SCI S 17 A93 Found well-preserved phytoliths in rumen contents and faecal samples. Phytoliths from faeces showed no signs of corrosion; some phytoliths still embedded in plant tissue, others not.

Bjune, A. E. 2000
Pollen Analysis of Faeces as a Method of Demonstrating Seasonal Variations in the Diet of Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus). Polar Research 19(2):183-192.
This subspecies of reindeer is sedentary, does not migrate. Study undertaken in Todalen, a valley on western Spitsbergen. Vegetation is characterized by Cassiope tetragona, an evergreen shrub, and other low-growing shrubs and plants. Very short summer season. Collected 40 dung samples between August 1994 and August 1996. Pollen assemblages are dominated by three taxa: Salix, Poaceae, and Oxyria digyna. Seasons are distinguished by the relative abundance of these three taxa in the assemblages. Winter and spring assemblages are characterized by Salix, Saxifraga oppositifolia type and Cassiope tetragona pollen. Autumn (fall) samples are characterized by Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Bistorta vivipara, and Cerastium type pollen. Summer samples are characterized by Oxyria digyna, Pedicularis spp., Ranunculus sulphureus and Papaver dahlianum pollen. Small amounts of Pinus and Betula pollen are probably from long- distance transport. Autumn grazing on moist areas with relatively luxuriant and nutritious grasses. Winter feeding varies depending on snow and ice conditions. Willow is found on exposed ridges, where snow cover is thin or blown free, and therefore can be reached for browsing. Reindeer in this area don't appear to consume lichens but do consume mosses; moss spores found in assemblages. Spring grazing on areas that are first free of snow and show new plant growth. Again, these are the exposed ridges. In summer, most nutritious and palatable plants are available, and the reindeer graze selectively, concentrating on Oxyria. Greater numbers of pollen types in summer assemblages because this is the main flowering season. Highest LOI values in summer and autumn dung samples when highest biomass consumption. Discusses pollen production characteristics of plants in the study area and possible effects on pollen assemblages from dung. Notes that pollen analysis of dung is a useful complementary technique to analysis of macroplant remains. (25/04/2009).

Brochier, J. E., P. Villa, and M. Giacomarra 1992
Shepherds and Sediments: Geo-ethnoarchaeology of Pastoral Sites. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 11:47-102.
AEU HSS GN 700 J86 Modern study of stock pens, some in caves and rock shelters others in the open, and deposits associated with shepherding in Sicily. Found that they have diagnostic indicators of herding activities. Looked at 9 cave and 21 open air sites, all associated with sheep, and some also with goats. Excavated sediments from 8 sites. Modern herding practices also reviewed but authors feel they do not provide a good analogue for Neolithic practices because of social, economic, and vegetation differences. In cave and rock shelter sites, spherulites, produced by adult sheep, identified in sediments, often in association with phytoliths (from undigested fodder). Appear to be diagnostic for penning. Evidence of burnt layers in deeper levels. Burning may have been done purposefully in penning sites to reduce disease transmission. Twigs brought into rock shelters to act as bedding for new-born goat kids became trampled into dung layers. Deeper layers show progression of dung diagenesis. Diatoms also present in dung layers, probably from drinking water. Insect remains include various kinds of dung beetles and weevils. At open air sites, no evidence of burn dung. No spherulites either, probably decay rapidly in these sites (dampness). Diatoms in sediments from pens, again probably from drinking water. Also studied rock polish on cave walls and floors to identify diagnostic signatures that herds were present. Looked at remains of pens and milking structures. Research helps to clarify understanding of Neolithic sites. Data should help to clarify the signals for the origins of pastoralism. Preliminary analyses suggest that pastoralism in Mediterranean area may have greater time depth than hitherto thought. (09/10/2006).

Canti, M. G. 1997
An Investigation of Microscopic Calcareous Spherulites from Herbivore Dungs. Journal of Archaeological Science 10:219-231.
AEU PMC CC 1 J86 Notes that spherulites have frequently been reported from cave sediments, where they are thought to be associated with dung of animals using the caves or penned in the caves. May be from both herbivores and carnivores (e.g., hyaena). Experiments show that they are produced by sheep and many other herbivores but not clear what they are made from. Canti collected dung from many different animals in UK and Italy, mainly sheep and rabbits, but some cow, deer, goat, wild boar, horse, and pig. Spherulites were found to be abundant in many sheep dropping samples, but either not present or present in low abundance in dung of other animals. Describes various petrographic and other analytical techniques used to identify composition of spherulites. Concluded that they are mainly calcium carbonate, often with an organic coating. Are destroyed rapidly in acid conditions, so only likely to be preserved in certain locales. Hence preserved in dry cave deposits. Could be confused with coccoliths in carbonate soils, though the latter are not spheres but usually disc-shaped. (10/06/2006).

Canti, M. G. 1999
The Production and Preservation of Faecal Spherulites: Animals, Environment and Taphonomy. Journal of Archaeological Science 26:251-258.
AEU PMC CC 1 J86 Spherulites are of animal origin and are not derived from plants (chemical composition and morphology is different). Experimental work (examination of sheep intestines) suggest spherulites are formed in the lower intestine of animals, especially sheep. Chemical conditions of digestive process form ideal conditions for precipitation of calcium carbonate in this portion of the gut where pH is high (pH 8). Bacterial intervention is not necessary for their formation; it is a purely chemical process. Feeding and digestion important to spherulite production. Highest numbers produced by ruminants (sheep, cow, goat, and deer). Generally higher spherulite production associated with animals grazing on alkaline soils, but even here some animals don't produce them, suggesting other factors are also important. Indicates some environmental components influencing production. Some indication that spherulite production may be higher in spring, suggests there could be some seasonal component. Preservation depends on where deposited. Not preserved in acid conditions. Burned dung (or bedding/stable material), which has a higher pH, is a good preservation medium. Experiments conducted with soils of various pHs and Canti found that spherulites do not preserve well if soil pH is below 7.7. Pattern of spherulite abundance in sites could help map use of site for different aspects of animal husbandry. (10/06/2006).

Carey, A. B., J. Kershner, B. Biswell, and L. D. De Toledo 1999
Ecological Scale and Forest Development: Squirrels, Dietary Fungi, and Vascular Plants in Managed and Unmanaged Forests. Wildlife Monograph No. 142. A Supplement to The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 62, No. 1, January 1999. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 71 pp.
Forest areas studied are in SW Oregon, USA. Most of monograph consists of lengthy analysis of habitat (mainly vegetation) data. Deals with two species of squirrels, northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) and Townsend's chipmuk (Tamias townsendii), examining their population densities, diet and role in forest ecology. Diet examined through collection of faecal samples from live-trapped animals (pp. 14 - 16). Dietary analysis (pp. 56 -59) indicated that fungi (truffles and mushrooms) form a large component of the diet. Hence, old growth (decadent) forests with abundant deadfall, rotting trees, have greater amounts of fungi and hence higher squirrel population densities. Squirrels important in spore dispersal of fungi. Squirrels are predominantly mycophagous (fungi-eating). Authors note that management for decadence should be a component of a comprehensive forest management strategy to maintain long-term forest health and promote biodiversity. (18/05/2002).

Carrión, J. S. 2002
A Taphonomic Study of Modern Pollen Assemblages from Dung and Surface Sediments in Arid Environments of Spain. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 120:217-232.
AEU SCI QE 901 R45 Testing preservation of pollen of entomophilous species (which form a major component of modern vegetation in southeast Spain) by examining dung and other surface sediments. Investigating whether taxa are absent from pollen records because of preservation factors. Collected dung from herbivores. Found that dung pollen assemblages have the best (in terms of minor pollen taxa) representation of coastal vegetation. Surface sample show over-representation of the anemophilous taxa from long-distance sources and do not give good representation of local vegetation. Concludes that dung samples may be good and unbiased pollen traps in such arid locales. (02/07/2006).

Darimont, C. T., P. C. Paquet, and T. E. Reimchen 2007
Stable Isotopic Niche Predicts Fitness of Prey in a Wolf-Deer System. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 90:125- 137.
Study area is central coastal British Columbia and Haida Gwaii, Derived stable isotopes (C, N) from hair of black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) either from carcasses of culled deer (from Haida Gwaii) or spring-shed hair. Also collected deer hair from faeces of wolf (Canis lupus) which prey on the deer. Also examined deer pellets to get more specific data on diet. On central coast and Yeo Island, stable isotopes showed that deer were using different niches (i.e., isotopic signatures varied) whereas there was no significant differences in isotopic signatures from deer on Haida Gwaii. Deer killed and eaten by wolves had different isotopic signatures than the "survivor" deer. Pellet analysis helped interpret these results. "Non-survivor," i.e., predated deer, foraged in low elevation Tsuga heterophylla stands. Predation is "ecologically selective," in other words, deer foraging in some habitats are more likely to be predated than others. Speculate on heritability of preferences for different foraging areas (young deer "learn" from does). But deer continue to forage in dangerous areas. Why? Possibly because of nutritional benefits of using those areas, i.e., a trade-off. (25/05/2008).

Evershed, R. P., P. H. Bethell, P. J. Reynolds, and N. J. Walsh 1997
5ß-Stigmastanol and Related 5ß-Stanols as Biomarkers of Manuring: Analysis of Modern Experimental Material and Assessment of the Archaeological Potential. Journal of Archaeological Science 24:485-495.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 Examined a series of soil samples from a transect at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, southern England. Transect went from non-manured to manured to non-manured area. 5ß-stanols are typical of cattle manure and these were found to be enhanced in the manured area compared to the non- manured area. Interestingly, more traditional elemental analyses (e.g., P) did not show such a marked effect. The lipid biomarkers seem more persistent in the soil. However, notes that 5ß- stanols are were present also in the control (non-manured) samples, though not to the same extent, probably due to some transfer from ploughing and the effect of rabbit dung. Therefore the abundance measure is not sufficient on its own to distinguish manured areas. It is the relative amounts of biomarkers when manured/non-manured areas are compared that will distinguish the area that has been manured. That is, the manured areas are distinguished by their relatively high amounts of biomarkers compared to the background or control areas. (01/07/2007).

Hall, A., and H. Kenward 1998
Disentangling Dung: Pathways to Stable Manure. Environmental Archaeology 1:123-126.
Focus is on understanding composition and formation of stable manure so as to aid in its recognition in archaeological deposits. Also what can be learned from stable manure once recognized (e.g., information on rural surroundings from which fodder was derived). Suggest suite of "indicators" for presence of stable manure in archaeological context.

Hansen, R. M., and P. S. Martin 1973
Ungulate Diets in the Lower Grand Canyon. Journal of Range Management 25(5):380-381.
AEU SCI SF 85 A1 J8 Examined plant remains in dung of three modern ungulates (cow, bighorn sheep, and burro (feral donkey)) in the vicinity of Rampart and Muav Caves for comparison with dung contents of extinct ground sloth (Northrotherium shastense) and mountain goats (Oreamnos harringtoni) from these caves. The extinct animals' dung contained plant remains primarily from desert shrubs, notably Ephedra (Mormon tea), Sphaeralcea (Globemallow) and Atriplex (Saltbush). Dung contents of modern animals contain evidence of Ephedra nevadensis (Nevada mormon tea), Sphaeralcea sp. and Tridens sp. (a bunchgrass), but also Acacia constricta (Whitethorn acacia) and Aristida wrightii (a speargrass). Grasses (especially Muhlenbergia porteri) are a substantial component of their diet, with the burros also consuming more Bromus rubens (Brome grass) and, in the spring, Agropyron sp. (Wheatgrass). In total, 35 plant types identified for the three modern animals, though some are much more common than others. Results suggest that ground sloths occupied a browsing niche that is not filled by the modern fauna. (22/03/2008).

Hewitt, D. G., and C. T. Robbins 1996
Estimating Grizzly Bear Food Habits from Fecal Analysis. Wildlife Society Bulletin 24:547-550.
AEU SCI SK 351 W675 Fed known diets to captive bears (2 male, 2 female). Attempted to related food consumed to food residue recognizable in fecal samples. Produced corrections factors, so that diet can be estimated from fecal analysis. CFs less than 1 for most plant foods, and over 1 for mammals (meat), up to 40.8 for fish. In other words, bears may be consuming large amounts of mammal food (and fish), though this may be only a small part of fecal residue. Data have implications for habitat management for bears. Wildlife managers are often concerned with estimating diet from fecal remains. Some of this information may be useful for the understanding of coprolite analyses. See journals such as the Journal of Wildlife Management and American Midland Naturalist for more. (17/03/2002).

Kohn, M. H., and R. K. Wayne 1997
Facts from Faeces Revisited. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (TREE) 12:223- 237.
Dung (scats) may be most ready way of surveying rare or elusive species or carrying out large scale surveys of wildlife populations. Discusses extraction of DNA from faeces ("molecular scatology"). Can be used for taxonomy, "fingerprinting" individuals, and gender determination. May also be used to detect pathogens and diet components. May also allow inferences about kinship structure and population size. Reviews history of DNA studies applied to mammal scats. Notes that DNA of faeces may be only way to prove that a rare (or presumed extinct) animal is present in an area. May also provide information about genetic variation in a population. Helpful for conservation efforts. Can examine isolated populations and establish whether there is gene flow between them. Also has advantage that it is non- invasive and does not involve any distress to the animals or animal handling. Useful survey and review article. (24/11/2007).

Kruuk, Hans 1972.
The Spotted Hyena: A Study of Predation and Social Behaviour. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA. xvi + 335 pages.
AEU SCI QL 737 C24 K94 Discussion of hyena scat, pp. 66-71. Notes that hyena droppings are large white and conspicuous and consist mostly of bone remains and animal hair from prey animals. Examined 810 samples to obtain information on diet of hyenas in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Prey animals were identified on basis of hair recovered from the samples. Scored on basis of presence/absence. Main prey animals are wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson's gazelle. In most ecotypes (plains, woodland etc.) hair from these three prey animals were present in about 90% of the samples. In Ngorongoro Crater, domestic stock were prominent in samples from near human settlement (airstrip). Noted a marked seasonal fluctuation in the consumption of wildebeest calves in the Ngorongoro Crater especially, from direct observation of feeding behaviour, not faecal samples. (07/Oct/2011)

Miller, N. F. 1984
The Use of Dung as Fuel: An Ethnographic Example and an Archaeological Application. Paléorient 10:71-79.
Interpretation of charred seed assemblages from a 3rd millennium B.C. site at Malyan, southern Iran. Studied plant use in modern village and concluded that major source of carbonized seeds is use of dung cakes for fuel for cooking and heating. An arid area and so wood for fuel is scarce. Hence assemblage reflects the diet of pastoral animals (especially sheep and goats) and not diet of human inhabitants of village. Dung included a large proportion of weed seeds. Animals fed on fodder and are stall fed during winter snows; feed is hay (alfalfa, straw, weeds) and barley. They are not fed on the main cereal crops (e.g., wheat) used for human consumption. Hearths are cleaned regularly and contents end up in middens. Very few seeds found in general household refuse (e.g., courtyard sweepings). Used modern findings to interpret archaeological assemblages, showing a change from wood to dung as fuel as population increased and wood became scarce. Poorly-drained area turned into sedge meadow (sedge seeds). Also increase in fodder plant seeds (from agricultural fields, either cultigens or weeds).

Moe, D. 1983
Palynology of Sheep's Faeces: Relationship Between Pollen Content, Diet and Local Pollen Rain. Grana 22:105-113.
AEU SCI QK 658 G742 Compared pollen content of faeces from two groups of sheep in southwest Norway; studied between 1974-1977. First group kept all year in small enclosure and given fodder (imported from Sweden). Second group mainly grazed, moved between winter pasture and summer pasture, with some supplemental feeding in winter. Fodder tested contained large amounts of pollen (mainly grass). First group samples reflect assemblage from fodder. Second group showed more seasonal variation, and changes in proportions of AP/NAP, reflecting flowering of plants in or near pastures. Values reflect (locally harvested) fodder pollen assemblage at time of supplemental feeding (i.e., not in sync with seasons). Notes variance in flowering cycle of plants, and also year to year variance of pollen in samples (in a dry year, AP retained on foliage of fodder plants and so it is better represented, in wetter years, more AP was washed from foliage before it was ingested). Pollen from insect-pollinated forage plants may be well-represented in faecal samples (though not in pollen rain), reflecting grazing patterns. Faecal samples give some information about vegetation of vicinity, depending on whether animals are grazing in pastures or fed on fodder, but relationship is complex and not direct.

Montalvo, C. I., M. E. M. Pessino, and F. C. Bagatto 2008
Taphonomy of the Bones of Rodents Consumed by Andean Hog-nosed Skunks (Conepatus chinaga, Carnivora, Mephitidae) in Central Argentina. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:1481-1488.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2007.10.011 Collected 372 and analyzed 59 scats from skunks, carnivores, from a protected area in central Argentina. Scats are distinctive and unlikely to be from other animals. Onlly 18% of the 372 scats contained vertebrate remains; main diet of the skunks is arthropods. The 59 scats analyzed contained rodent remains. Identified four rodent taxa: Tucotuco (Ctenomys sp.), Common yellow-eared cavy (Galea musteloides), Grey leaf-eared mouse (Graomys griseflavus), and Molina's grass mouse (Akodon molinae). These are all small rodents with a body mass less than 200 g. Skeletal elements showed evidence of digestive corrosion, especially the teeth. Analysis showed that 65 individuals were consumed. Lots of breakage on the skeletal elements, with many unidentifiable fragments also in the scats. Probably suggests that the skunks chewed up their prey. Elements that survived best were the humerus, ulna, and incisors. Breakage and damage are distinctive and indicative of carnivore damage. Data could be useful for interpreting palaeontological or archaeological assemblages of small mammal bone. (21/11/2008) .

Price, M. H. H., C. T. Darimont, N. N. Winchester, and P. C. Paquet 2005
Facts from Faeces: Prey remains in Wolf, Canis lupus, Faeces Revise Occurrence Records for Mammals of British Columbia's Coastal Archipelago. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 119(2):192-196.
Using wolf scat as a way of inventorying mammal species (i.e., prey) on 29 coastal islands, using mammal hair as the indicator of presence. Found evidence of deer, marten, mink, river otter, weasel, black bear, moose, and beaver. No evidence for small mammals. Data show some mammals (moose, marten) on islands where they have not previously been recorded. (24/08/2006).

Schmidt, P. J., J. O. Schmidt, and C. W. Weber 1984
Mesquite Pollen as a Dietary Protein Source for Mice. Nutrition Reports International 30:513-522.
AEU SCI QP 141 A1 N97

Schmitt, D. N., and K. E. Juell 1994
Toward the Identification of Coyote Scatological Faunal Accumulations in Archaeological Contexts. Journal of Archaeological Science 21:249-262.
AEU PMC CC 1 J86 Examination of 40 coyote (Canis latrans) scats from the Great Basin, USA, mostly Nevada, some from E. California. Study arises from need to distinguish human subsistence refuse from faunal remains accumulated from natural processes, especially from carnivores and scavengers. Small animals, even when used a human food, may not be cut up and therefore absence of cut marks on bones does not preclude human use. Study concentrated on bones larger than 3.2 mm (i.e., retained on a screen of this mesh), for comparability with archaeological samples. Small mammal bone identifiable were mainly rodents and leporids (rabbit/hare - distinguished as Class III group). Damage on bones is mainly corrosion and staining. Bone density may affect whether bone element appears in scats. Also prey availability may affect assemblage: coyotes eat entire small mammal prey when food is short, but when food is abundant they leave the less useful parts (e.g., rabbit's feet). Compared these data with faunal remains from Vista Site (north of Reno, Nevada), a Washoe winter village. Found that generally bone fragments from coyote scats are smaller than those of intensely-processed archaeological assemblages. However, human coprolites will also show a bias toward small bones. Authors note that there is a need to distinguish accumulations from raptors (hawks, owls) that also eat small mammals - bones from their pellets will probably exhibit less corrosion and staining. Conclude that digestive attributes (especially edge thinning, rounding) probably the most diagnostic characteristic of bone from animals consumed by coyotes. (09/03/2002).

Smith, D. 1998
Beyond the Barn Beetles: Difficulties in Using Some Coleoptera as Indicators of Stored Fodder. Environmental Archaeology 1:63-70.
Examines insect fauna ("barn beetles") found in farm buildings used and a midden from Conisbrough Parks Farm (south Yorkshire, UK) and barns in Plikati (Greece). A modern comparative study that has implications for those working on similar materials from archaeological sites.

Sutcliffe, A. J. 1970
Spotted Hyaena: Crusher, Gnawer, Digester, and Collector of Bones. Nature 227:1110-1113.
AEU SCI Q 1 N28 Primarily a study of taphonomic factors influencing bone accumulations in modern hyaena dens. Undertaken partly to answer questions as to whether some ancient bone accumulations (e.g., at Kirkdale Cave) were made by hyaenas, as hitherto thought, or by hominids, as some recent authorities suggest. Some studies suggest that hyaenas do not defecate in dens, i.e., not likely to accumulate hyaena dung. Investigation of modern hyaena lairs in East Africa showed that bones were carried into the lairs, especially by the young hyaenas, and confirmed that droppings were usually absent. Reviews types of bone damage by hyaenas found during examination of lairs and feeding sites. (11/04/2009).

Valamoti, S. M., and M. Charles 2005
Distinguishing Food From Fodder Through the Study of Charred Plant Remains: An Experimental Approach to Dung-Derived Chaff. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14:528-533.
DOI: 10.1007/s00334-005-0090-y Research stimulated by archaeobotanical work on assemblages from Makriyalos and Makri, Late Neolithic sites in northern Greece. Assemblages contained wheat chaff plus often fig seeds. Was this from dung mixed with chaff to form dung cakes for fuel, or from chaff eaten by animals and hence incorporated in their dung? Ethnographic evidence of chaff being fed to animals, also accounts of feeding figs, esecially in winter for fattening and improving condition (e.g., of lactating animals). Fed 2 goats. One animal fed whole einkorn spikelets and 4 whole figs. Other animal fed chaff and 4 halved figs. Animals had access to other foods too. Collected pellets and examined them for chaff and fig seeds. Passed through animals in three days. Grain was not identifiable in pellets, most of chaff also not preserved, only the toughest parts of the chaff survive (glume bases and rachis internode segments). Fig flesh not preserved but seeds pass through the animals. Goats can produce up to 300 pellets a day, and a single pellet can contain 3 fig seeds and 20 weed seeds. Hence, dung can be a source of weed seeds on archaeological sites. Other experiments show that this residue can also survive charring. Fact that wheat and chaff does not survive digestion though means that it is difficult to make inferences about what the animals were being fed based on archaeobotanical remains. Also cannot distinguish these remains from chaff produced by dehusking and then fed to animals. So presence of chaff in dung doesn't necessarily mean the grain component was used only for human consumption. Speculates about feeding grains and figs to animals to fatten them up for feasting. (17/11/2007).

Vermeeren, C. 1998
Evidence for Seasonality from Coprolites and Recent Faeces? Environmental Archaeology 3:127-128.
Summary of Vermeeren and Kuijper (1993) with some additional remarks.

Vermeeren, C., and W. Kuijper 1993
Pollen from Coprolites and Recent Droppings: Useful for Reconstructing Vegetation and Determining the Season of Consumption? Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 26:213-220.
Examination of modern fox droppings to see if seasonality can be deduced from pollen. No firm evidence for seasonality in most cases but could reconstruct vegetation. Data were used to assess results of analysis of coprolites spanning the Neolithic to Middle Ages from the Netherlands and Northern France. Interesting to note that fox fecal samples containing fruits of blackberry (Rubus fruticosa) and cherry (Prunus serotina) also contained quantities of pollen of Rubus- type and Prunus-type. Attributed to fruits still having adhering pollen. Some foxes had apparently also consumed butterflies.

Wells, F. H., and W. K. Lauenroth 2007
The Potential for Horses to Disperse Alien Plants Along Recreational Trails. Rangeland Ecology & Management 60(6):574-577.
AEU SCI SF 85 A1 J8 Large mammals may transport seeds, which are then deposited in dung and may still be viable. Collected 12 manure samples along a trail near Vail, Colorado, during hunting season when trail receives most use. Allowed seeds in dung to germinate, then identified and tallied them. Found 20 species in total that germinated and produced seedlings. Of these, 10 were of (locally) native taxa and 10 were alien (not from region), but 85% of seedlings were from aliens, predominantly Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and Redroot Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus). Horses may therefore be very effective dispersal agents for aliens. Seeds may be eliminated up to 10 days after ingestion, allowing considerale distance of travel in that time. Horses graze on pastures that contain weedy species, which they then transport into the backcountry. Seeds may not germinate immediately, but may become part of the seedbank along trails. Although seeds may germinate, establishment of a viable plant population may be more difficult since the seeds may not be deposited in the right environment. Suggest that horses should be fed weed-free forage (for about 10 days) before going onto trails on public lands. (22/12/2007).

Williams, P. A., B. J. Karl, P. Bannister, and W. G. Lee 2000
Small Mammals as Potential Seed Dispersers in New Zealand. Austral Ecology 25:523-532.
Experiments to assess viability of seeds eaten by six small introduced mammals. Especially concerned with whether these mammals help spread seeds of woody invasive plants. Seeds involved in experiment are associated with fleshy fruits and hence likely to be eaten by the animals - 17 fruits used. Found that ship rats (Rattus rattus) may be especially effective at dispersing small seeds. Possums (brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula) may be important seed dispersal agents because it took days, in some cases up to 12 days, for seeds to be excreted. Small seeds may be dispersed by several mammal species. Does this mean that small-seeded invasives will spread faster? (29/11/2007).

Wright, M. 1986
Le Bois de Vache: This Chip's for You. Alberta Archaeological Review Number 12:3-6.
Reports experiments with bison chips as fuel. Notes that chips were often used to fuel campfires though historical accounts suggest that they did not burn well and produced a smoky fire. Experiments showed that dung fires burned less hot than fires fuelled by spruce or poplar wood. Most importantly, chips behave differently to wood during the combustion process, mainly by developing a thick ash mantle, so that much less radiant heat produced. Chip fires were probably surrounded by a ring of rocks which served to radiate heat. They are very effective to heat rocks, either for stone boiling or for roasting platforms. (03/08/2003).

Wright, M. 1992
Le Bois de Vache II: This Chip's For You Too. Alberta: Studies in the Arts and Sciences 3(1):225- 244.
Describes experiments on bison dung burning, demonstrating that bison dung burns almost as hot as a wood fire, depending on how dry the bison chips are, but does not produce as much radiant heat. Hence the need for stones or rocks to transfer the heat more efficiently for space heating or cooking. Includes some historical accounts of dung camp fires by travellers across the prairies, emphasizing that the dung-fuelled campfires smoke and smoulder, rather than give a cheerful blaze. (05/11/2006).

Number of citations: 30


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Comparative Studies - Mammal



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