gastrolith


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gastrolith

[′ga·strə‚lith]
(vertebrate zoology)
A pebble swallowed by certain animals and retained in the gizzard or stomach, where it serves to grind food.
References in periodicals archive ?
Gillette, Utah's state paleontologist, identifies the rocks as gastroliths -- so called "stomach stones" that certain animals hold within their digestive tract to grind food.
However, the Seismosaurus fossil found with the most gastroliths held only 15 kg of stones, the largest no bigger than a grapefruit.
The discovery of the gastroliths associated with this plesiosaur specimen were particularly exciting because most plesiosaur gastroliths are found associated with the long-neck morphotype," Schmeisser explained, adding that "the stones described in our paper are much lighter and smaller than those found in long-neck plesiosaurs.
The digestive tracts of both plesiosaurs also contained dozens of gastroliths, stones that paleontologists speculate were used to grind up hard-shelled prey and thereby aid digestion.