Aug
05
2012

dinosaur gall stones

hello, i have some strange looking rocks,that i have been told are dino gall stones. they were found in nc .the guy that told me they were dino gall stones,is a indian head collector and he found some similiar and took them to duke and was told they were dino gall stones.. they are abut 1 inch across tey arenot perfectly round and have flat side on them.. a total of 12 were found in about a 10 foot area and are like no other rocks in this area..would love to find out some info. could not get photo to load

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

You're talking about gastroliths - literally "stomach stones". They're also sometimes referred to as "gizzard stones". Lots of animals - both living and extinct - ingest stones to help them digest their food. You can find out lots of information on this University of California Museum of Paleontology website.

The collector who identified them as similar to ones he had may have had good intentions but without knowing the details of where your particular stones come from, such as the exact location, the rock strata they were found in, and if the remains of dinosaurs (or other prehistoric animals such as plesiosaurs) are also found nearby in the same strata, it would be very difficult to identify them accurately as gastroliths. Are similar stones commonly found in the same rock formation? Maybe the strata is an old riverbed with sorted pebbles and sand.That would probably rule them out as gastroliths. It's also possible your stones might not be prehistoric - they could be from recent animals, such as alligators. There are a lot of criteria involved in identifying gastroliths.

A quick image search on Google will get you lots of photos of gastroliths, but again, just because your stones look like any of them, it doesn't necessarily mean they are stomach stones. You really need to know the particulars of where they were found.

If you are able, I think your best bet would be to gather as much pertinent information as you can about your collection and bring them to a museum or university in your area for them to look at and help you identify.

posted on Sun, 08/05/2012 - 6:27pm

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