The World’s Largest Collection of Fossilized Poop Opens in Florida

South Florida Museum
South Florida Museum / South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum unveiled, perhaps, its greatest gift to the world last weekend. On October 3, the museum opened an exhibit of the world’s largest collection of fossilized deuces. 

The 1277 prehistoric turds, called coprolites, were verified by officials from the Guinness Book of World Records in August. (More than 30 other samples could not be authenticated as feces, and had to be thrown away.) The “Amazing Coprolite Collection” is on loan for the year from Jacksonville resident George Frandsen, who runs the Poozeum, an online exhibit of some incredibly well-preserved stools.

A Pleistocene-era poop found in Florida.Image Credit: Poozeum

The collection includes dumps from species who lived in 15 states and eight countries. It may sound like a bizarre tourist attraction, but coprolite specimens are actually valuable for paleontologists. Poop doesn’t often survive millennia, and it can provide important data about what prehistoric species ate (and what kinds of infestations they had). Sometimes bones, scales, and teeth from the digested prey survive within the coprolite, too. The nuggets of ancient waste products in the archive come from crocodile-like species, fish, frogs, and more.

The largest poop stone of the bunch, from a prehistoric crocodile, is nicknamed “Precious,” as in Gollum’s favorite accessory in Lord of the Rings. That’s the puppy-sized turd pictured in the top image above. A national treasure!

[h/t: Tampa Bay Times]