Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed
Date published: 02nd December 2013
The dung contains clues to prehistoric diet, disease and vegetation says a study in Scientific Reports.
Elephants, antelopes and horses are among modern animals who defecate in socially agreed hotspots - to mark territory and reduce the spread of parasites.
But their best efforts are dwarfed by the enormous scale of this latrine - which breaks the previous record "oldest toilet" by 220 million years.
Fossil "coprolites" as wide as 40cm and weighing several kilograms were found in seven massive patches across the Chanares Formation in La Rioja province.
Some were sausage-like, others pristine ovals, in colours ranging from whitish grey to dark brown-violet.
"There is no doubt who the culprit was," said Dr Lucas Fiorelli, of Crilar-Conicet, who discovered the dung heaps.
"Only one species could produce such big lumps - and we found their bones littered everywhere at the site."To continue reading click here