Large vertebrate predators from the fossil record with a human for scale

Predation in Paleoecology

Predation, in the most general sense, is the consumption of one organism by another. As in modern times, predation in the fossil record takes many forms and leaves a diverse array of evidence to assess. In some cases, such as insect herbivory on plants and drilling predation by snails on clams, traces of the predation are often readily observable. Predation by vertebrates can be more challenging to study because, often times, the entire prey individual will be consumed and little will be left to fossilize. Still, bones do occassionally bear teeth marks and evidence from things like fossilized excrement, called coprolites, can provide excellent evidence of predation. In the three sections that follow, we will take a closer look at these three different types of predation. 

"Community Ecology II: Predators - Crash Course Ecology #5" by CrashCourse. Source: YouTube.


Unless otherwise indicated, the written and visual content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This page was written by Jansen A. Smith. See captions of individual images for attributions. See original source material for licenses associated with video and/or 3D model content.

Creative Commons License