The 240-million-year-old Toilet

Yes, you read that right.  A 240-million-year-old dumping ground of dinosaurs was discovered in Argentina, according by a report by Scientific Reports.  It is considered the first direct evidence to date that dinosaurs shared dumping grounds to defecate.  Thousands of fossilized "poo" by rhino-like megaherbivores were found clustered together.  Modern day animals, such as antelopes and elephants have "agreed," over recorded history, to areas to defecate in order to limit spread of parasitic diseases.  This is also a way animals mark territory, such as lions and other predators, to warn others away.  However, this is a first in that it shows dinosaurs did the exact same thing.  The "poo" ranged in size from oval shaped to cucumber shape.  Of course, they were quite big as you can imagine.  The dinosaur thought to deficate in this particular instance was the Dinodontosaurus, an eight-foot-long megaherbivore similar to modern rhinos.  Other dinosaurs, such as the crocodile ancestor, Luperosuchus, also shared this site for a dumping ground.  Scientists can gather more information on the diet of dinosaurs from cracking open the fossilized dung.  It gives clues to their environment and long dead plant life. 

Hard to fathom the pain staking search for something of this nature.  The report did state they found dinosaur bones over a wide area.  So, obviously, that was a major clue the dinosaur searchers were on the right track.  I've often wondered if DNA could be extracted from dino poop.  I'm not a scientist and don't play one on TV.  I'm sure DNA has long since evaporated if there ever was any in the dino poop.  I guess it's the Jurassic Park enthusiasm in me coming out. 


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