Ooh...I hope Dr. Sattler likes this one!
As I was typing the final line to yesterdays poop, I mean post, an idea struck me. So, I decided to write this before I forgot.
All that talk of poop made me remember my poops. Not my personal poops, sicko, but the poops I own.
Wow. That sounds odd right there, admitting I not only own poop, but that I paid good money for said poop.
But this isn't ordinary poop. This is shiny poop. A polished turd, if you will.
The poop I own isn't people poop. It's ancient poop. Dinosaur poop, to be exact.
It's called a coprolite. A coprolite is a fossilized turd.
Mary Anning, (oh holy cow, if you read up on one person I mention, it should be her. She is one of the most famous people in natural history no ones ever heard of, but everyone should know. She is the 'she' in she sells sea shells by the sea shore), noticed that bezoar stones found in the abdominal region of Ichthyosaurs contained small bones when broken open. This led William Buckland, (odd enough for me to dedicate a post to him), to come to the conclusion that what Anning had found was actually fossilized poop.
Since then, the fossilized poop of virtually every animal has been found.
By studying coprolites scientists can figure out what extinct animals ate. What? You thought they found fossilized take out menus, and that's how they knew what dinosaurs ate?
Coprolites vary greatly in size and shape. Just like your poops! And, just like your poops, what was eaten dictates what the poops look like.
There is a big market for coprolites in the jewelry industry. When sliced and polished, coprolites can display a stunning variety of colors. Some jewelers will cut the poop into shapes and make rings, pendants and ear rings out of it. And, unless you know what it is, you wouldn't be able to tell it was poop.
Others make other items out of coprolites.
Remember how I said William Buckland was odd enough for his own post? Well, one of the things that made him odd was, he took his personal collection of coprolites and had them cut and polished. He then had them made into a table that he used for the rest of his life.
In later years, another scientist found coprolites were a great source of phosphates. So they were harvested and ground up and used as an ingredient for fertilizers.
So, poop. Gross? Only if it's fresh.