In Choteau, Montana, there’s a fossil quarry that’s famous for an epic discovery: the very first baby dinosaurs found in a nest. This fossilized evidence was pivotal in our understanding of how some dinosaurs raised their young. But the area is also known for another kind of secret-spilling fossil: dinosaur poop. “The same flood event that occurred some 70 million years that buried huge numbers of hadrosaurs and their nests also preserved their feces for posterity.” This Science Friday episode digs into the science of that fossilized feces.
more dinosaur videos. Plus: The World’s First Poo Museum and Why isn’t the world covered in poop?
Using the coprolites found in the region, paleontologist Karen Chin has discovered unique insights into the climate, ecology, and behavior of the species who created it. In her lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Chin and collaborators examine the poop in microscopic detail using state of the art chemical analyses. Their findings have revealed the unusual dietary habits of hadrosaurs in the area as well thriving populations of invertebrates.