Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/2/2013 (4 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.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/2/2013 (4 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 calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Green

BIOLOGICAL WARFARE? Smog from India, China winds way to U.S., Canada Watch

Image of The smog in Asia, it must be noted is caused by more than just the burning of fossil fuels - it's comprised of nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that combine to produce ozone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ripples in the global pond, half a world away, can have effects all over the globe. Researchers at Texas A&M now say that air pollution originating in both India and China, almost certainly affects global weather patterns, particularly in the United States and ... continue reading


MONSTER El Nino forming in South Pacific, will being devastating weather around the globe in 2014-2015 Watch

Image of We may see a sharp increase in severe weather events for 2014-2015.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to scientists, a massive El Nino is forming in the Pacific and it may be the largest such El Nino ever recorded. If true then the entire planet may experience an uptick in extreme weather events with serious consequences for life and property around the ... continue reading


World must turn to wind and solar to combat global warming, report says Watch

Image of Scientists are optimistic that if renewable energy is quickly rolled out, homes are built in a more sustainable and energy efficient way, and human consumption and wastefulness is changed, climate change can be controlled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world must turn to the wind or sun for its energy needs -- or face catastrophic consequences wrought by climate change. That's the news from a recent report from the United Nations on global warming. These devastating effects could take place as early as 15 ... continue reading


Former Indonesian tropical paradise reduced to garbage dump Watch

Image of The water at times turns red, green, yellow and black because of the high concentration of dyes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As people in China's most air polluted cities cheerfully don face masks, a fisherman on Indonesia's Citarum River has blankly accepted his polluted fate. Once searching for fish, Herman, the name of the fisherman proffered to news reporters says he now looks ... continue reading


THIRD Oarfish sighting in Sea of Cortez stokes earthquake fears Watch

Image of A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oarfish has been found washed on an island beach in Mexico, leading to speculation if it is one of the two previously sighted and filmed last month, or if it is in fact a third specimen. If it is a third, it could fuel rumors of an earthquake since anecdotal ... continue reading


Japanese island consumes another in unusual volcanic activity Watch

Image of Two volcanic craters are shown on Niijima on November 22. The island emerged about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a spate of highly unusual volcanic activity, one Japanese island has merged with another nearby island. Niijima Island, a volcano which broke through the ocean's surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last ... continue reading


Are these oarfish in Mexico predicting an earthquake? Tourists film TWO live oarfish trying to beach themselves Watch

Image of Oarfish are legendary harbingers of earthquakes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing new video shows two oarfish swimming just offshore in Mexico to the delight of ecotourists on a kayaking tour. The video, taken last March, shows the pair of fish possibly about to beach themselves. Oarfish are rarely sighted and legend associates their ... continue reading


MASS EXTINCTION: All life on Earth went extinct 252 million years ago Watch

Image of The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly all life on Earth became extinct 252 million years ago. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT scientists, the culprit was not an asteroid striking the planet, but a methane-spewing microbe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daniel ... continue reading


Bison, elk appear to be fleeing Yellowstone. Is supervolcano eruption eminent? Watch

Image of A supervolcano under Yellowstone could cause mass extinctions if it erupted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talk of a supervolcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park has hit the blogosphere after several people have posted videos of animals fleeing the sanctuary. A supervolcano eruption would destroy everything for hundreds of miles around and would plunge the planet into ... continue reading


Global warming is inevitable: It's time for a new ecology. Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest revelation from climate scientists is that they now believe global climate change as a result of human activities is now inevitable and irreversible. Furthermore, it will affect everybody in the years to come-if it hasn't already. It is nigh time for a new ... 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, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... 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