Coprolite a parting gift
Coprolite is excrement that was dropped a long time ago. Over the passage of time it has become fossilised. Any creature that ever ate has passed faeces of sorts and so there is an awful lot of it out there. It has even been commercially mined in quantities for the phosphate industry. It comes in all shapes, sizes and colours but to be sure it is sterile and has no odour whatsoever. The name Coprolite means 'dung stone' which is exactly what it is.
We have been able to learn a lot about extinct species by the study of coprolites and the plant, animal or parasites they contain. They are a mine of information which allows palaentologists to tell what animals ate and therefore build up a picture of ancient terrains, vegetation, migratory patterns and climate. It is in coprolites that the best sources of ancient DNA is recovered.
Pliocene Coprolite and sign
The discovery and dating of a human coprolite found in North America has shown that there were people there some 18,500 years ago. Another of these dung finds from 12,300 years ago showed two different sources of DNA.which had direct relationship to modern Native Americans.
Coprolites have been recovered in a variety of sizes, from that produced by worms and sea slugs up to a two foot long turd produced by a Tyrannosaurid. Distinctive patterns in ancient Doo have shown that dung beetles were busy clearing up after the dinosaurs.
A Dirty Ditty
Approach, approach, ingenuous youth,
And learn this fundamental truth
The noble science of Geology
is bottomed firmly on Coprology.
John Shute Duncan - Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum 1823-1629
A Parting Gift
Coprolites, despite their source can be both attractive and fascinating. Certainly a conversation piece and a truly original paper weight. In short they make an unusual and inexpensive gift.
Who would you want to give a load of old poop to?
An address to remember
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