Paleontologists Find a Surprise in Ancient Vomit
For all the dust and bug bites involved, paleontology comes off as a romantic science. In pop culture, at least, it’s a discipline suited for Cary Grant, Sam Neill, and, to a lesser extent, David Schwimmer. But, as with almost any line of work, the image is often more glamorous than the reality. Paleontology isn’t just about searching for bones in the desert or reconstructing enormous skeletons. Sometimes it requires that you look closely at some ancient upchuck.
Back in 1989 paleontologist Fabio Marco Dalla Vecchia and colleagues described an unusual fossil from the 228-208 million year old rock of Italy. It seemed to be a gastric pellet—the sort of mass of hard-to-digest