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Prehistoric 'communal toilet' unearthed


Posted on Friday, 29 November, 2013 | Comment icon 12 comments


A dinodontosaurus skeleton. Image Credit: Sergio Kaminski

A vast latrine dating back more than 240 million years has been discovered in Argentina.

Thought to be the "world's oldest public toilet", the site has proven to be a treasure trove of fossilized droppings. While many modern animals such as horses, antelopes and elephants have been known to make use of a communal lavatory, all current known examples are completely dwarfed by the sheer scale of this prehistoric dumping ground.

Paleontologists with the unenviable task of closely examining the droppings believe that they belonged to an 8ft long megaherbivore called Dinodontosaurus which would have been similar to modern day rhinos. "There is no doubt who the culprit was," said Dr Lucas Fiorelli. "Only one species could produce such big lumps - and we found their bones littered everywhere at the site."

Not only do the droppings help to explain the animals' behavior but they also provide clues as to what they ate. "When cracked open they reveal fragments of extinct plants, fungi, and gut parasites," said study co-author Martin Hechenleitner. "Each poo is a snapshot of an ancient ecosystem - the vegetation and the food chain. Maybe with these fossils we can glimpse into the lost environment which gave rise to the dinosaurs."

   
Source: BBC News | Comments (12)

Tags: Dinosaur


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Still Waters on 28 November, 2013, 21:20
I hope this doesn't put anyone off their Thanksgiving dinner!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Ohelemapit on 28 November, 2013, 21:22
A museum of poo has been created? Hey kids guess where we are going today during school holidays?
Comment icon #5 Posted by freetoroam on 28 November, 2013, 23:01
Who dates those things? What a s * * * job that must be!
Comment icon #6 Posted by lightly on 28 November, 2013, 23:20
and so ... society was born
Comment icon #7 Posted by Hobbit Feet on 29 November, 2013, 12:47
I guess this place was a "NO FIGHTING" zone.
Comment icon #8 Posted by third_eye on 29 November, 2013, 12:54
A funny postulation was brought up on another forum I frequent : What if the fossilized tracks aren't about what was doing the business there but were to 'feed' ? ~
Comment icon #9 Posted by Ashiene on 29 November, 2013, 13:12
Why is the crocodile in the poo pit waiting to eat that piece of poo coming out from the dinosaur?
Comment icon #10 Posted by LimeGelatin on 29 November, 2013, 16:24
Vital Information For Your Everyday Life... -LoLzzz
Comment icon #11 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns on 30 November, 2013, 2:39
Guys, more news from the excavation area! They found a rock with crudely-written words, saying "ALL REPTILES MUST WASH CLAWS" Evolution in action, people.
Comment icon #12 Posted by bassai26 on 13 December, 2013, 15:33
"The ancient comfort zone"


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