Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/2/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Each fecal specimen is a 'time capsule' to dinosaur era

There was a classic illustrated children's book entitled "Everyone Poops." This definitely was true of the dinosaurs, as a gigantic "communal latrine" created at the dawn of the dinosaurs has been discovered in Argentina.

Many of the feces were sausage-like, while others were pristine ovals. Colors ranged from whitish gray to dark brown-violet.

Many of the feces were sausage-like, while others were pristine ovals. Colors ranged from whitish gray to dark brown-violet.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/2/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Dinosaurs, feces, Argentina


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Thousands of fossilized fecal material - which will hereon be referred to as "poos" left by rhino-like mega herbivores were found clustered together. Scientists say that the 240-million-year-old site is the "world's oldest public toilet" and the first evidence that ancient reptiles shared collective - ahem, "dumping" grounds.

Each poo is a time capsule to the dawn of the dinosaurs.

Each poo is a time capsule to the dawn of the dinosaurs.


The surviving material gives clues to the prehistoric diet, disease and vegetation. Today, elephants, antelopes and horses are all animals who defecate in socially agreed hotspots, in order to mark territory and reduce the spread of parasites. The recent discovery breaks the previous record of "oldest toilet" by 220 million years.
 
Fossil "coprolites" as wide as 40 centimeters, weighing several kilograms were found in seven massive patches across the Chanares Formation in La Rioja province. Many of the feces were sausage-like, while others were pristine ovals. Colors ranged from whitish gray to dark brown-violet.

The culprits were dicynodonts - ancient megaherbivores.

The culprits were dicynodonts - ancient megaherbivores.


"There is no doubt who the culprit was," Dr Lucas Fiorelli, of Crilar-Conicet, who discovered the dung heaps declares. "Only one species could produce such big lumps - and we found their bones littered everywhere at the site."

The defecators were the Dinodontosaurus, an eight-foot-long megaherbivore similar to modern rhinos. Dicynodonts, which are large, mammal-like reptiles, the Dinodontosaurus was common in the Triassic period when the first dinosaurs began to emerge.

The fact these creatures shared a lavatory suggests they were gregarious, herd animals, who had good reasons to poo strategically, Dr. Fiorelli says.

"Firstly, it was important to avoid parasites - 'you don't poo where you eat', as the saying goes.

"But it's also a warning to predators. If you leave a huge pile, you are saying: 'Hey! We are a big herd. Watch out!"

The common predator at this time was the formidable Luperosuchus, a crocodile-like carnivore. The dung patches, however, were equally intimidating.

A museum of poos has been created by the researchers.

A museum of poos has been created by the researchers.


A density of 94 "poos" per square meter was recorded by the researchers. And the excrement was spread across patches 900 square meters in size.

Prehistoric coprolites are nothing new, but it is extremely rare to find an accumulation as old and substantial as this one, as feces degrade easily. A sheet of volcanic ash has preserved the ancient dung piles "like Pompeii", Dr. Fiorelli says.

The world

The world's oldest toilet - an artist's impression.


Like tiny time capsules, "When cracked open they reveal fragments of extinct plants, fungi, and gut parasites," Martin Hechenleitner, a fellow author on the study says.

"Each poo is a snapshot of an ancient ecosystem - the vegetation and the food chain.

"This was a crucial time in evolutionary history. The first mammals were there, living alongside the grandfather of dinosaurs.

"Maybe with these fossils we can glimpse into the lost environment which gave rise to the dinosaurs."

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Green

DOOMSDAY PROPHECY: 'There will be no water by 2040 if we keep doing what we're doing today' Watch

Image of Hydroelectric energy needs are even larger than those demanded by agriculture, researchers said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers from Denmark's Aarhus University, Vermont Law School and the U.S.-funded Center for Naval Analyses Corporation have come out with a chilling prophecy. Due to heightened demand for drinking water and energy needs, "There will be no water by 2040 if ... continue reading


What happened to all the bugs? Insect population is down by 45 percent in just 35 years Watch

Image of We rarely think of insects as being little more than everyday pests. Flies interrupting a breezy day, ant invading a picnic, crickets disrupting the quiet of an early evening.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We rarely think of insects as being little more than everyday pests. Flies interrupting a breezy day, ant invading a picnic, crickets disrupting the quiet of an early evening. There are less bugs to worry about these days -- and scientists say this is good ... continue reading


Beware of fluffy! Those scary dinosaurs may have actually been quite comical to look at Watch

Image of Most dinosaurs may have had feathers, a new study suggests.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The discovery of several 150-million-year-old fossils in Siberia indicates that a majority of dinosaurs were either covered with feathers or had the potential to grow feathers, a new study suggests. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Until this study-published in ... continue reading


California drought likely to worsen as El Nino observed weakening Watch

Image of A sign intended to build public support for water rights for farmers now has a new significance.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bad news for California is about to get worse. The state, wracked with drought, is eagerly anticipating the formation of a strong El Nino event in the Pacific, which would bring significant rainfall to the region. However, the El Nino may not develop as strongly as ... continue reading


Bats are the super animals, science says! New study reveals that not only can these flying pest eaters see sound, but they can also see invisible light Watch

Image of Bats can see with polarized light, and may use it to navigate with, a new study says.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Polarized light may be a useful tool for bats to navigate, and the greater mouse-eared bat-Myotis myotis-is the first mammal known to navigate using polarized light. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Polarized light is light waves that are parallel to each other ... continue reading


Bald eagles make a surprising comback in California! Watch

Image of Bald eagles, which had disappeared from the Channel Islands in the 1960s, have made a comeback following a re-population effort started in 2002.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in more than 50 years, a nesting pair of bald eagles have been found on San Clemente Island, officials reported on July 17. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This discovery means that bald eagles have re-established territories on five of the ... continue reading


TO FEED THE HUNGRY: More efficient agricultural systems could feed three billion more people Watch

Image of When it comes to water, rice and wheat are the crops that create the most demand for irrigation worldwide.

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Targeted efforts to make food systems more efficient in key parts of the world could meet the basic calorie needs of 3 billion extra people and reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture without using additional land and water, researchers said on Thursday. ... continue reading


Four wings: Amazing prehistoric raptor fossil found in China Watch

Image of This nightmare creature traveled light. Only four feet long and nine pounds heavy, the Changyu lived about 125 million years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Since gaining popularity in the "Jurassic Park" movies, raptors, next to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, are probably the most feared dinosaur by modern man. Short and compact with razor sharp teeth and claws, their speed and agility make for real nightmare fodder. ... continue reading


Ancient flesh crawler 'resurrected' with computer generated imagery Watch

Image of Comparing them to living arachnids, the researchers used an open source computer graphic program called

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There would be few reasons as to why anyone would want to bring an ugly spider, long extinct, back to life. Thanks to computer generated imagery generated by fossils of a 410 million-year-old arachnid, however, scientists have been able to recreate how it ... continue reading


What is a 'zombie' weather station and why is it bad? Watch

Image of Zombie outbreak locations? No, this is a map of  NOAA weather stations that are not made up.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forbes has published an article which alleges that U.S. climate scientists have manipulated climate data, using "zombie" weather stations that did not exist and "estimating" temperature data there. The article also states that a standardized network of NOAA monitoring ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24
11 The priests and prophets then said to the chief ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
15 Let not the waves wash over me, nor the deep ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Eusebius of Vercelli
August 2: Christians who breathed a sigh of relief when Constantine ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter