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Getting the Dirt On Ancient Life With Coprolites

timothy posted about a year ago | from the unpampered-lifestyle dept.

Earth 51

the_newsbeagle writes "Paleoscatologist Karen Chin knows you can learn a lot about ancient ecosystems by studying coprolites — fossilized feces. She has studied dino droppings from herbivores, and identified the types of plants those dinosaurs ate. She has identified T. rex turds, and found evidence that prehistoric dung beetles made use of those king-sized dino patties. This profile of Chin goes through her greatest hits, then focuses on her latest work, which sheds light on the reemergence of life after the K-Pg extinction event that brought down the dinosaurs... but left some surprising creatures unscathed."

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Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446717)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446825)

you mean the Nigger Girls you fuckin porch monkey

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446855)

Welcome to Niggerbuntu

Niggerbuntu is a Linux-based operating system consisting of Free and Open Source software for laptops, desktops, and servers. Niggerbuntu has a clear focus on the user and usability - it should Just Work, even if the user has only the thinking capacities of a sponge. the OS ships with the latest Gnomrilla release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off of a single installation CD.

It also features the packaging manager ape-ghetto, and the challenging Linux manual pages have been reformatted into the new 'monkey' format, so for example the manual for the shutdown command can be accessed just by typing: 'monkey shut-up -h now mothafukka' instead of 'man shutdown'.

Absolutely Free of Charge

Niggerbuntu is free software, and available to you free of charge, as in free beer or free stuffs you can get from looting. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. The freedom, to run, copy, steal, distribute, study, share, change and improve the software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Free software as in free beer !

Niggerbuntu is an ancient Nigger word, meaning "humanity to monkeys". Niggerbuntu also means "I am what I am because of how apes behave". The Niggerbuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Niggerbuntu to the software world.

The dictator Bokassa described Niggerbuntu in the following way:

        "A subhuman with Niggerbuntu is open and available to others (like a white bitch you're ready to fsck), affirming of others, does not feel threatened by the fact that other species are more intelligent than we are, for it has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that it belongs to the great monkey specie."

We chose the name Niggerbuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and looting that is at the heart of the open source movement.

Niggerbuntu - Linux for Subhuman Beings.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448133)

you mean the Nigger Girls you fuckin porch monkey

Monkeys should not be allowed to operate powerful sports cars, foreign or domestic!

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446883)

Y'all know it's "confidant", right?

.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#45446973)

You are aware of the fact that "y'all" is plural, right?

Easy way to spot a ringer from the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon--no respectable Southerner would be caught dead using it to mean only one person. :)

Another tip: In Kentucky, "you'uns" is actually much more common than "y'all".

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45447125)

Y'all is singular. All y'all is plural.
Git yo grammar all in a ro fore I beat you, an yo nana fo raisin you like she did. NUH-uh, ain't nobody gon' listen achoo when yo words soun like at.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447705)

Gitcher spellin' raht, there, boy. We din't sen'joo n yer cousin to skool to come home without bean able to cipher, Jethro.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (2)

msk (6205) | about a year ago | (#45447721)

"Y'all" is plural. "All y'all" is a greater/collective/encompassing plural.

Compare with "we" versus "we all" or "they" versus "they all".

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45449491)

Not sure if you are trying to correct improper usage, or have never lived where such usage exists. Either way, you are wrong despite being right.
And this is why discussion on the internet is hard.

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#45452057)

I'm a native Southerner. My parents corrected me on the usage when I was a kid, pointing out that only ignorant Yankees and especially ignorant Yankee television writers use "y'all" for the singular.

And since I've already been modded Off-Topic, let me get back on topic by stating that I think the Golden Girls Cosmonaut Guy is probably nicer than the GNAA guy, and definitely gets more First Posts!

Re:Happy Saturday/Sunday from The Golden Girls! (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#45452063)

For extra entertainment value, try reading the above aloud, with various regional/national accents.

Poop thread! (3, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year ago | (#45446797)

...and our distant descendants will gain the most accurate picture of us from our landfills, if we haven't already mined them out.

Dedication ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446833)

When one is dedicated, even research done on poop can yield amazing results !

On the other hand, when one lacks dedication, even with the most advance gadgets one still can't accomplish anything

Dr. Chin is of the former, and unfortunately, too many of the young uns are of the latter

A complementary article (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45446925)

There's another article on Karen Chin and the fossilized turds online, which complements TFA nicely

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/The-Poop-on-Dinosaurs-Menlo-Park-2950982.php [sfgate.com]

On the other hand, Dr. Karen Chin's site at Colorado U turns up with a picture of a bison
http://www.colorado.edu/geolsci/faculty/chin.html [colorado.edu]

For what is worth ... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446999)

I came across a resurrected page from the now defunct geocities - http://www.reocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Galaxy/8152/plight.html [reocities.com] - an article from 1997

There were (at that time) two brothers - Steve and Chris Brusatte - who were so interested in the field of Paleontology that they poured over 70 books just to satisfy their curiousity

That articles was dated 1997, some 16 years ago, and I hope that the brothers do grow up to be paleontologists, as what they had wanted to be

Re:Dedication ! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447709)

Yeah, but it's a shitty job and you wind up working with assholes.

Re:Dedication ! (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about a year ago | (#45457077)

Only if that have a bone to pick with you.

Re:Poop thread! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45446843)

Most of us don't put poop in the land fill. That's what the sewage system is for. Of course, archeologists thousands of years from now will probably look at the dog poop, cat poop and diapers in the land fill and wonder just what the hell was going on.

I really feel sorry for them.

Re:Poop thread! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446893)

They will be able to figure out that dogs like to eat cat poop, at least in this century.

Re:Poop thread! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447313)

Most of us don't put poop in the land fill.

I suppose you're right: most Slashdotters aren't American parents that typically use disposable diapers on their little poop factories...

Re:Poop thread! (2)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447731)

Actually landfill digging would be a wonderful exercise for an archaeology class. It would provide a good sharpening of their forensics and teach them to be careful,(watch out for that glass,razor blades, sharps etc) be aware of their environment (lookout! Gull attack!) and sharpen deduction skills (what is this fluid in this balloon-like structure?).

Re:Poop thread! (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45448509)

Actually in a lot of areas you do, at least it's done for you. In may places sewerage solids can be used for fertilizer, but in areas where the heavy metal or other contamination is too high, or there's just no demand, it ends up in the landfill.

Re:Poop thread! (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#45448903)

Actually a lot of the extracted solids are shipped off to landfills. In most sewage treatment systems the first step is a settling tank that allows the heavier solids (sludge) to sink to the bottom where a screw then lifts them out. The solids (toilet paper, feces etc.) is then dewatered and shipped to landfills. I am familiar with the NYC DEP system as a family friend works for them. Some plants do not dewater their own solids and have to ship them by a DEP barge to other plants which do. One such plant is the Rockaway plant.

Re: Poop thread! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45449371)

. Some plants do not dewater their own solids and have to ship them by a DEP barge to other plants which do. One such plant is the Rockaway plant.

For the love of all that's holy, *please* get this submitted to Dirty Jobs.

Re:Poop thread! (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#45446915)

...and our distant descendants will gain the most accurate picture of us from our landfills, if we haven't already mined them out.

Sure, on our eating habits - Garbage in. But what if "garbage in = garbage out" doesn't hold true in the future?

Or what if they use our landfill as fossil fuel (wouldn't that be ironic)?

Re:Poop thread! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447737)

"But what if "garbage in = garbage out" doesn't hold true in the future? "

          Introducing a new line of USED FOOD STORES!
Where there's always a sale on corn...

Re:Poop thread! (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#45447783)

We do already from our ancestors. Old landfills are a bonanza for archaeologists. You only throw things on a landfill you have used before, and in the end, about 99% of all the things we ever made land in a landfill. A landfill is thus a concentrated overview of what we use, and how much of it we use. (And the dustbins of your enemy's premises are a goldmine for spy agencies. The real ones. Not the ones that just pile up large databases of every bit you send).

Re:Poop thread! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#45448099)

Assuming we have distance descendants, that is. The man who did not invent the internet but played a small role by voting for the funding of an ARPANET project ages ago says our species might not last another 100 years, would by mighty inconvenient, if true, of course.

Re:Poop thread! Rust Layer? (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about a year ago | (#45457051)

A good deal of the steel we use in our modern civilization comes from ore produced by a singular event of some 2 billion years ago. The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean had increased to a level that all the Iron that had been in solution suddenly rusted out of sea water and settled out eventually becoming the worldwide distribution of ironstone deposits from that age.

In a few million years, our age will be marked by regions of very rusty deposits scattered about the continents. If you have seen the series on Discovery about what happens to human artifacts after Mankind is not maintaining them, it seems that steel structures are among the least able to survive for very long, at least in terms of geologic time. Some metal artifacts might survive by luck, but most of it will return to the rust that made the ironstones in the first place, but it won't be a orderly deposit. It will be localized where our population centers were, but the striking thing will be the unnatural concentration of Iron with anomalous associations of other metals not found together in natural deposits.

What a shitty job. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446809)

Science is crap!

Global warming (1)

shimul1990 (3413815) | about a year ago | (#45446837)

Global warming is now a concerned subject all over the world.

Re:Global warming (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447743)

I hear ya brother, I'm colder than hell this week. Turn up the cow flatulence a bit, would you?

It works on present life too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45446845)

Just look at your local politicians for massive amounts of coprolites.

Getting the dirt? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#45446975)

s/dirt/poop/

What kind of editor would miss that opportunity?

Re:Getting the dirt? (0)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45447131)

I shat a fact. Tis true. Disprove it, dare say I.

Re:Getting the dirt? (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447747)

You didn't wipe, you stink, that's a fact.
Soon you will be digging in you crack to relieve itching, that's a forecast.
You won't get laid, that's an outcome.

It's (2)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#45447003)

It's turtle poop all the way down.

Re:It's (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447749)

Oh you ran into the Nintendo strata! You might find plumbers poop too. Everytime they got turtle bit...OH SHIT!

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447051)

speaking of real crap work...

Thanks Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447081)

This is a great article for coprophiliacs like myself!

miracles of evolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447095)

Millions of years later, these coprolites evolved into Americans.

Gimme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447183)

Just gimme the straight poop on this.

Greatest what (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#45447745)

This profile of Chin goes through her greatest shits

FTFY.

Re:Greatest what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45449265)

Came here for this, left satisfied. (although I had to scroll down a lot to find it).

I actually read it as shits at first then laughed at myself and the joke at the same time.

And can be buffed up. (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#45447987)

These here coproliths in fact can be polished and made to shine. I bet someone's already got a line of coprolitic jewelry.

Great gift (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#45448771)

Coproliths make a great gift for kids. They are cheap to get on eBay or whatever, and they are as educational as can be. And as fun as a turd can be !

Re:Great gift (1)

clovis (4684) | about a year ago | (#45450457)

And you can make them yourself! Keep in mind that kids always want the most recent version of anything.

Re:Great gift (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about a year ago | (#45451661)

Kids are also impatient. When they hear that it takes a million years to make one, they'll lose interest.

Chin's classroom humor? (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | about a year ago | (#45449209)

I wonder if she starts out any of her "coprolite 101" classes with "This is a coprolite, it's fossilized dung. You may think it's just old shit but it's my bread and butter."

(I knew a Parasitologist who started his first lecture of his course somewhat like that.)

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