Tuesday, May 01, 2018

History Written in Poop

From the Department of Really Fascinating Stuff comes this article: Reconstructing Lost Worlds with Poop.

For those of you who won't bother to read the article, I'll just tell you that it recounts the efforts of scientists to understand the flora and fauna of the distant past based on the analysis of ... uh ... poop*. Yes, scientists are studying the composition of ancient droppings to determine what various animals ate and how their diets contributed to the spread (or extinction) of various plants and other animals. This is not a new effort: you can read other stories about the wonders to be found in the analysis of poop in this article from the Smithsonian Magazine, and this Scientific American article, which looks both at the biology and the physics of defecation.

I find this fascinating, and it also leads me to wonder how future scientists will reconstruct our world, given that we tend to process most of our poop away. Most of the poop we'll leave behind will be of a type useful only to social historians studying our political campaigns. Except for things like poop trains.

Don't thank me ... it's all part of my work to bring you the straight sh ... uh ... poop.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* The science is called "scatology," and the dinner-table quality word for the poop is "coprolites."


Mike said...

They have been digging up outhouses here in the St. Louis area for years. But here they are looking for artifacts that got discarded in the pooper.

allenwoodhaven said...

It's an interesting, if somewhat unusual, aspect of archeology. It makes a lot of sense to me. There should be all kinds of useful information in any critter's poop.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Makes me wonder about the poop deck on old ships.