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Mammoths ate their own poop

An analysis of mammoth dung has revealed that the giants would sometimes eat their own poop.

Turns out your dog (or your neighbor’s dog) isn’t the only animal interested in pre-digested yum-yums. Scientists rooting around in mammoth poo discovered the extinct woolly beasts used to munch their own leavings.

Or more accurately, a team led by Bas van Geel of the University of Amsterdam found fungus spores deep inside a piece of mammoth dung that can only grow on the outside of dung. Only way that can happen is if the mammoth eats the fungus, which means eating poo. Their work is in press in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

This is the second time evidence has been found that mammoths enjoyed poo-snacks — “coprophagy” to scientists — the first was in 2006. In some ways it’s even more important than the first discovery, though, because it means the initial finding wasn’t a fluke: mammoths made a habit of eating their own excrement.

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