Proving that the Dutch have too much time on their hands, a scientist from the Netherlands has been playing with a recently dug up fossil that was identified as an ancient piece of hyena dung. This is said to be the first known specimen of hyena dung that has ever been found in the North Sea. Now that scientists have uncovered the poop, more tests are being planned.
The fossil is said to date from the late Pleistocene Era, approximately 12,000-100,000 years ago. Now that is one old piece of dung. Of course, the director of the Rotterdam Natural History Museum characterized the prehistoric piece of poop as “a beauty.” Obviously, if you studied this sort of thing for a living, especially prehistoric poop, any fossilized piece of dung that is 100,000 years old would be quite a find. Will this fossil help explain the evolution of the hyena, the type of food sources that it ate or were available at the time of these animals? Who know, but the scientists are sure to study this thing with a fine tooth comb.
A Rotterdam paleontologist, Jelle Ruemer, says that the fossil was found while dredging for a new port in Rotterdam that is in the process of being expanded. Apparently, “cave” hyenas once ran wild all over Europe. The fossil found closely resembles modern hyena dung. The question is what type of impact is the discovery of a fossil of an ancient animal’s fecal matter? Probably not too much, but it is definitely fun to see scientists getting so excited over fossilized hyena poop.