Several scientists hit the proverbial jackpot recently when they discovered a massive trove of prehistoric reptilian feces in Argentina recently.
Seven clusters adding up to thousands of fossilized chucks of poo, some weighing several kilograms and measuring over 40 cm wide, were discovered in what scientists are calling the earliest documented "public toilet," according to a study in Scientific Reports. "Some were sausage-like, others pristine ovals, in colours ranging from whitish grey to dark brown-violet," the BBC reports. The poops were all found in the "Chanares Formation, an Argentinian site known for its rich fossil record," according to the Telegraph.
Dr. Lucas Fiorelli of Crilar-Conciet, who led the study, discovered the dung heaps. "There is no doubt who the culprit was," he told the BBC. The first communal poopers were "Dinodontosaurus, an eight-foot-long megaherbivore similar to modern rhinos," the BBC says. Some modern animals, like elephants, antelopes and horses, do their business in the same area. The reptiles traveled in herds, and used their pooping grounds to defend against predators. If a threat came along looking for a snack, the size and quantity of the poo would warn the hungry danger that Dinodontosaurus travel in packs, and are large enough that one should look elsewhere for food. The fight probably wouldn't be worth it. Dinodontosaurus also pooped in the same place to avoid health infractions, scientists believe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.