Museum unveils 'largest collection of fossilized poop'

- It's being billed as the world's largest collection of fossilized poop.  And who are we to turn our noses up at that?

This unique collection -- which includes a fossilized poo specimen nicknamed 'Precious' believed to have been left behind by a crocodilian species -- will be unveiled at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton tomorrow, which happens to be National Fossil Day.

The exhibit includes 1,277 individual pieces of fossilized poop -- or coprolites -- from 15 states in the U.S. and eight countries, making it the "world's largest collection of fossilized dung."

And if you think that something stinks about that claim, know this: It's been verified by Guinness World Records.

"People have a morbid fascination with this," offered Jeff Rodgers, the museum's director of education.  "They cannot walk in with a smile on their face and say I cannot believe I am going to see fossilized poop. Just having that smile on their face makes them more open to learning about it. It makes learning fun."

There's a lot of value in studying fossilized feces, Rodgers, insisted.

"You can learn what was eating what. You can learn what types and plants of animals were in a particular location millions and millions of years ago. That information is usually hard to get. You have to collect a lot of things. What is nice about these, they concentrate that information into one small package for paleontologists."

So while it may be a lot of 'number two,' organizers hope it will be number one with kids.

"You never know; that is half the fun," Rodgers added.  "The right kid walks in and sees this stuff for the first time, it could start a lifelong love affair with fossils.  You could have the next great paleontologists sparked by just seeing this poop collection."


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