Article: Spirally coiled 'coprolites' from the Upper Triassic Maleri Formation, India
Sohan L. Jain
A new collection of coprolites exhibiting spiral markings from the upper Triassic Maleri Formation in the Pranhita-Godavari valley of southern India is critically examined. An attempt is made to relate their internal structure to the Maleri faunal elements. Ceratodus is a conspicuous member of the Maleri fauna. Some anatomical features such as the morphology of the spiral valve and faeces and the relationship between dental plates and body size in living Neoceratodus forsteri have been examined. The internal structure of the coprolites reveals the presence of a scroll valve which is quite dissimilar to the spiral valve of Neoceratodus. Critical assessment of the coprolites, based on external morphology and thin sections, does not support their determination as 'fossilized excrement', 'fossilized intestinal contents', or 'enterospirae' of Ceratodus. The evidence to relate the coprolites to other faunal members is equivocal. It is suggested that the 'coprolites' may belong to an as yet undetermined member of Maleri fauna.