Your poop or mine?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1023

Back in the Mesozoic, lavatories probably didn’t exist. In fact, dinosaurs and other animals were probably pretty poorly mannered and just pooped wherever they felt like. But what or who cleaned up after them? In modern biomes, poop is decomposed by insects and bacteria of all breeds, and actually forms quite an important part of energy flow within ecosystems. But was it the same million of years ago during the reign of the dinosaurs?

Imagine a natural world without decomposers. Carcasses would litter landscapes, and there’d be a neat smattering of faeces decorating everything like jam. Humans have adapted beyond this need for decomposers by creating the loo – dinosaurs weren’t so technologically efficient, and one can only imagine the issues T. rex would have trying to flush anyway.

T rex poop

Continue reading

Was the diversity of feeding styles in giant turtles a key to their suckcess?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=883

­Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out how ancient organisms used to eat. Part of the problem is that we can never actually see extinct animals eating (until we invent time-travel.. *taps fingers impatiently at physicists*), and often it can be hard to work out how something ate based just on its anatomy.  Sometimes though, the fossil record chucks up something truly spectacular, and gives us amazing insight into the spectacular diversity of ancient life.

Let’s roll it back a bit.

Continue reading