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Lipid analysis of a ground sloth coprolite

  • Fiona L. Gill (a1), Matthew P. Crump (a2), Remmert Schouten (a3) and Ian D. Bull (a1)

Coprolites can provide detailed information about the nutritional habits and digestive processes of the animals that produced them and may also yield information about the palaeoenvironment in which the animal existed. To test the utility of the lipid biomarker approach to coprolite analysis, lipids were extracted from a coprolite of the Pleistocene ground sloth Nothrotheriops shastensis. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry results revealed a dominant spiroketal sapogenin component identified, using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, as epismilagenin. The dominance of epismilagenin is probably due to ingestion of Yucca spp. and Agave spp., which is consistent with previous studies on the diet of this species.

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E-mail address: (F.L. Gill).

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