Thousands of fossilized poops of different shapes, sizes and colors were left at the dawn of the dinosaurs as a warning to predators, says Lucas Fiorelli who discovered the dung heaps. “If you leave a huge pile, you are saying: ‘Hey! We are a big herd. Watch out!’ ”
Also left behind were clues as to a prehistoric diet and disease, according to the study in Scientific Reports.
Usually poop disintegrates in the sands of time, but “like Pompeii” volcanic ash preserved the ancient dung, Fiorelli says. Some measure 40 cm wide.
What beast was marking his territory? Dinodontosaurus, a megaherbivore sort of like a modern rhino.