Fun with feces

Last night, science journalist Ed Yong got himself caught in a Wikipedia rabbit hole centered around the Category: Feces. He mentioned it on Facebook and then, of course, the same thing happened to me. I'm hoping to rid myself of it by passing it, Ring-like, on to you.

Pictured above: The Lloyds Bank Coprolite — a 7-inch-long hunk of human poop that was first, um, poo-ed in the 9th century, and rediscovered in 1972 at a construction site for a branch of Lloyds Bank. It seems as though the Lloyds Bank Coprolite is mis-named, however. The word "coprolite" specifically refers to fossilized poop — feces that has either mostly or entirely mineralized over thousands or millions of years. (There are dinosaur coprolites. They're kind of awesome.) The Lloyds Bank Coprolite, on the other hand, is actually an example of paleofeces — human poop that has been preserved, but not yet fossilized. And the process that preserves said paleofeces? It's the same as the chemical process that browns your toast. No shit. The Maillard Reaction is what happens when sugars react with amino acids in the presence of heat, leaving you with a sugary crust that can preserve DNA in poop or make bread taste extra awesome, depending on how it's used.

For other highlights of Category:Feces, I recommend checking out "Yellow Rain" and "Fecal Occult Blood".

Image: Lloyds Bank Coprolite, photographed by Storye book and used via CC