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 4: Other Critters

Araújo, A. J. G., U. E. C. Confalonieri, and L. F. Ferreira 1982
Oxyurid (Nematoda) Eggs from Coprolites from Brazil. The Journal of Parasitology 68:511-512.
AEU SCI QL 757 J86 Lizard coprolites in rockshelter associated with human burials dating up to 9,640±110 yr BP (charcoal from hearths). Coprolites contained nematode eggs. Trapped animals around the site. A chameleon (Tropidurus sp.) contained the nematode Parapharyngodon sceleratus, whose eggs appeared identical to those from the coprolites. Coprolites also compared well to droppings from another species of chameleon (Tropidurus torquatus). Conclude that the cave remains are probably from a type of chameleon in this genus.

Fernández-Jalvo, Y., L. Scott, and C. Denys 1996
Pollen Composition in Owl Pellets and Their Environmental Implications. C. R. Académie des Sciences, Paris, Série II a 323:259-265.
Sampled pellets from barn owl (Tyto alba) and kestrel (Falco tinniculus) from site in Burgos, Spain, and three sites in South Africa: Griekwastad Farm (barn owl), Geilbek (spotted eagle owl, Bubo africanus) and Clarens (spotted eagle owl). Samples split into two fractions: small mammal bones (reflecting digestive system of raptors) and hair (reflecting pollen adhering after regurgitation). Although roosts are in woodland, small mammal remains (Griekwastad and Clarens) represent adjacent grassland areas where hunting occurs. No difference in pollen spectra between hair and bone splits. Eagle owl pellets showed differences in pollen spectra depending on whether the raptors were consuming small mammals or fish. Prey selection influences pollen spectra. Biased spectra (i.e., reduced AP) compared to actual location of deposition of the pellets. (03/09/2006).

Fernández-Jalvo, Y., L. Scott, and C. Denys 1999
Taphonomy of Pollen Associated with Predation. Palaeogeography, Paleoclimatology, Palaeoecology 149:271- 282.
AEU SCI QE 500 P15 Owl pellets contain remains of small rodents. Pollen assemblage from pellets is related to what the rodents consumed before they were eaten by owls. But owl pellets may provide indication of vegetation on surrounding landscape. Experiments on feeding mice on pollen, then feeding mice to raptors, then examining pollen in raptor pellets and mouse dung to see what the effect of digestion may be on pollen survival. The digestion experiments were performed in France on mice (Mus musculus) and various raptors at a raptor rescue centre. Also looked at the diet of spotted eagle owls (Bubo africanus) at two sites in South Africa. Only a few owl pellets were found at these sites (Ouwerf and Kloof) due to drought impacts on rodent and owl populations. Mice were fed on Platanus, Quercus, and Olea pollen. Pollen recovered from the raptor pellets was coated with a debris layer, very thin, whose composition could not be completely determined. This may possibly be due to enzymatic activity related to digestion. Suggest that this coating may be used as an indicator of a raptor contributed component to pollen assemblages (e.g., in rock shelters or overhangs). Some pollen grains were cracked, perhaps due to SEM process (vacuum) or to digestion - this is not clear. Spotted eagle owl pellets at Ouwerf site show large amounts of grass pollen, related to grassland environments of rodent prey. Surface pollen spectrum shows more arboreal types. Raptor pellet pollen is biased towards grasslands, influenced by the birds' diet. At the other site (Kloof), vegetation is more shrubby and this is reflected in the pollen spectra which contain high amounts of Myrsine and Anthospermum pollen, two typical shrub taxa of southern Africa. Data show the influence of the raptors' hunting area on the assemblages. (03/07/2006).

Hansen, R. M. 1974
Dietary of the Chuckwalla, Sauromalus obesus, Determined by Dung Analysis. Herpetologica 30:120-123.
A chuckwalla is a type of lizard. Looked at plant remains, specifically epidermal fragments and lignified cell walls, in faecal samples, partly to examine diet of rare reptile (non-destructive analysis) and partly as an analogue for the analysis of ground sloth diet. Collected about 100 pellets near Grand Wash Cliffs, Grand Canyon. Site is along the Colorado River, opposite to Rampart Cave, where the ground sloth remains and dung were found. Chuckwalla pellets yielded evidence of 14 plant types. Diet was dominated by desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), about 66% of plant material identified, with white bursage (Franseria dumosa), about 9.4%, and catclaw acacia (Acacia greggii), about 7%, being other significant components. Although these lizards are thought to be vegetarian, did find about 4% of material was from larvae of grasshoppers. This study is referenced in other studies of extinct ground sloth diet. (19/04/2008).

Hockett, B. S. 1996
Corroded, Thinned and Polished Bones Created by Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos): Taphonomic Implication for Archaeological Interpretations. Journal of Archaeological Sciences 23:587-591.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 Takes issue with Schmitt and Juell's (1994) conclusion that thinned, corroded and polished bone may indicate source from carnivore scats. Presents evidence to show that bone from eagle pellets may have similar characteristics. Such pellets are likely to be found in caves and rock shelters. Reports on bone contents of 20 pellets from two eagle nests in northwest Nevada. Assemblage consists primarily of leporid bones (mainly hares). Skull fragments in low abundance because eagles often decapitate their prey before eating. Ribs are absent, probably because they are destroyed by digestion. Bones are corroded and thinned by digestive enzymes. Broken bone ends often polished. Generally larger bone fragments in pellets than in carnivore scats. Points out that diurnal raptors (i.e., eagles) may be contributing to bones found in rock shelters. It is important to recognize these contributions when trying to interpret archaeological assemblages. (24/04/2009).

Horrocks, M., J. Salter, J. Braggins, S. Nichol, R. Moorhouse, and G. Elliott 2008
Plant Microfossil Analysis of Coprolites of the Critically Endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) Parrot from New Zealand. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 149:229-245.
AEU SCI QE 901 R45 DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2007.12.009 Thought to be only 86 kakapo remaining. Breeding appears to coincide with masting seasons of some native trees. Knowledge of diet important for conservation management. Want to know about diet of kakapo prior to human arrival in New Zealand around 700 years ago. Analysis of recent faecal samples suggests parrots eat a wide range of plant material including leaves, bark, fruit, seeds and rhizomes. Up to about 80 plant taxa identified as food sources. Collected 52 coprolites from six sites (nine deposits), in caves and rock overhangs in South Island. Caves were likely used as daytime roost sites, as the parrots are nocturnal. Ages of coprolites range from about 2500 C14 yr BP to essentially modern. Therefore some predate human occupation. Analyzed them for pollen, phytoliths (includes diatoms too), and starch grains. No macroscopic plant material recovered so none for analysis. Different pollen assemblages from site to site, probably because sites are in different ecozones. Identified about 30 taxa in pollen assemblages. Generally the results agree with those from recent faecal studies, except that in coprolites several new foods were identified, especially various fern species. Starch grains only found in one coprolite - unexpected finding, so perhaps some modern foods (lycopods and fern rhizomes), which are starchy, were not eaten in the past. Preferred food in the past was fern fronds and cones and leaves of podocarps. No significant dietary change detected after arrival of humans in New Zealand. Shows parrots are not dependent on only a few plant foods - good news from a conservation perspective. (01/07/2008).

McAndrews, J. H., and C. L. Turton 2007
Canada Geese Dispersed Cultigen Pollen Grains from Prehistoric Iroquoian Fields to Crawford Lake, Ontario, Canada. Palynology 31:9-18.
AEU SCI QE 993 P18 Presents evidence that pellets found in the Iroquoian zone (ca. 1200 - 1500 AD) of sediment cores from Crawford Lake were deposited by Canada geese (Branta canadensis). Evidence includes the pollen content of the pellets, both in terms of abundance and composition, and DNA. Suggest that nutrient input from geese encouraged meromixi and varving of lake sediments. Geese probably grazed on Iroquian fields, hence large proportion of cultivar (e.g., Zea) and weed pollen. Suggest that similar effects should be looked for in lake sediments elsewhere. (25/03/2008).

Nowicke, J. W., and M. Meselson 1984
Yellow Rain - A Palynological Analysis. Nature 309:205-206.
AEU SCI Q 1 N28 Originally thought to be agents of chemical warfare in South-east Asia, the yellow rain turned out to be honey bee faeces.

Pettigrew, C. T., B. J. Hann, and L. G. Goldsborough 1998
Waterfowl Feces as a Source of Nutrients to a Prairie Wetland: Responses of Microinvertebrates to Experimental Additions. Hydrobiologia 362:55-66.
Study undertaken at Delta Marsh. Ducks return N and P to marsh ecosystem through faeces but little information is available to show how this figures into the overall nutrient cycle. Experiment to see if increased productivity of microinvertebrates (cladocerans, copepods, rotifers) resulted from additions of faeces of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynhos). Enclosed six areas of marsh and treated four with faeces with two areas left untreated as controls. Inorganic N and P in water column increased after treatment but effect was short-lived. Phytoplankon showed little response. Greater and more prolonged effects on microinvertebrates with higher amounts. Copepods and cladocerans (grazers) showed some response. When fish appeared in one enclosure, affected planktonic cladocera abundances and species composition. Faecal additions were larger than those that occur naturally. The muted effects suggest that such additions have little impact on communities, although there may be a long-term effect through slow release of organic- bound nutrients.

Schmidt, J. O. 1997
Bee Products, Chemical Composition and Application. In Bee Products: Properties, Applications, and Apitherapy, edited by A. Mizrahi and Y. Lensky, pp. 15-26. Plenum, New York, USA.

Schmidt, J. O., and S. L. Buchmann 1992
Other Products of the Hive. In The Hive and the Honey Bee, edited by J. M. Graham, pp. 927-988. Dadant & Sons, Hamilton, Illinois, USA.

Scott, L., Y. Fernández-Jalvo, and C. Denys 1996
Owl Pellets, Pollen and the Palaeoenvironment. South African Journal of Science 92:223-224.
Examined owl pellets from three sites in South Africa. Pellets were derived from barn owl (Tyto alba - one site) and spotted eagle owls (Bubo africanus - two sites). Pollen spectra appear to reflect predation and foraging behaviour of the raptors (i.e., different spectra depending on whether pellets contained small mammals or fish remains). Paper highlights the fact that cave deposits may be complex. Pollen assemblage reflects forage and diet choices of prey as well as prey selection by raptors. Need to examine sediments for faunal remains (e.g., bone fragments from raptors' prey) in order to clarify the origin of the pollen assemblage. (29/08/2006).

Number of citations: 12

Other Critters


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