Tuesday, December 19, 2017

No Shit, Sherlock: More About Paleoscatology

Sometimes you just have to wonder what motivates people in life.

In particular, what motivates a guy to devote his graduate education and best working years to the study of fossil crap?

I mean, imagine the conversation.

Student: Dad, I need you to cosign my student loan application so I can get on with my PhD studies.

Dad and Mom: That's our boy, always on the up and up. Sure thing son, what's the course of study?

Student. Well, Dad, I am going to study the prehistoric droppings of the moa, a large flightless bird that has been extinct for millions of years. By the way, I've got to go to New Zealand to do it so make sure you put in something for air fare. Business class should be mighty nice.

Dad: Are you sure about this? Because all you'll be capable of doing is teaching other scatologists about is primitive dumps.

Student: It's a world of shit we live in, Dad. I'll be fine. Now sign, goddamnit.

In today's Atlantic, bes' li'l ole scandal sheet in all of Christendom, we find out that studying moa poop, no doubt excavated from protean latrines, is much more than, well, poop.

You can read about it here.

With raised eyebrow, we here at the Dougloid Towers soldiered on, to discover that the study of the Paisley caves-which we reported on here a while ago-was much more than an indictment of the prehistoric tenants who inhabited the caves although it could have been because it was a sublease.

In addition we find that a 30,000 year collection of ground sloth crap was the victim of a great inferno in 1976 in the Grand Canyon which, Professor Paul Martin opines was the equivalent of losing the Library of Alexandria. You can read about that here. It is furnther noted that in the Rampart Cave these...ahem...articles were more than twenty feet deep. So imagine, if you will, climbing up a twenty foot ladder to take your ease, kinda like building a prehistoric garderobe for yourself.

One wonders why the giant ground sloth kept coming back to the Rampart Cave for thousands of years? What was it about that place that made it excel above all other potential locations?

It appears that the ground sloth returned to the same primitive crapsite to ease himself, which one commentator describes as being akin to giving birth-that seems a stretch by our lights. I mean, we all have our hours of labor but that is where the comparison runs out of gas, so to speak.

Maybe to Martin, perhaps, the fire was a great disaster but it sounds to us like a much overdue spring cleaning.

It goes on. Even as we speak, paleoscatologists-to coin a term-on the Aucilla River in northern Florida are busily sifting through a mountain of fossil mastodon poop to determine the type and content of the mastodon's diet-which we suppose is interesting to other paleos.


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