Pleistocene Sloth Poop

I just looked at the link to the Arizona Daily Star that Steve had in his last post that had this great picture of Dr. Paul Martin holding a Pleistocene Ground Sloth – “coprolite” is the proper term – and thought it deserved a post of its own. Such a priceless picture! This is real science! This is a man who has his “stuff” together!Seeing it also reminded me of my days in graduate school. A colleague that I shared lab and office space with was doing studies of human coprolites from dry shelters in the Southwest for his master’s thesis (theses on feces?). As found in the rock shelters the coprolites were firm and dry, like the one Dr. Martin is holding. For my friend to do his research to see what the prehistoric people were eating, what parasites they had, etc., he had to rehydrate them. You can imagine the smell. For a number of weeks there we had very few visitors. Actually, I found it imperative to do a lot of library research during that period.

Leave a Comment