The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Coprolite

Today I was an earth science & biology teacher at Mahomet-Seymour High School. I think my students were juniors, but I’m not actually sure and it somehow never came up. I spent most of the day watching a video about America’s Ice Age with earth science students, then wrapped up the day helping the biology students go through a study guide on a chapter about cells.

The morning started with fun adventures in malfunctioning equipment, which had the potential of ruining the entire day. Fortunately, the teacher across the hall happened to have a DVD player connected to a projector, and so we were able to move forward with our adventures in learning about the ice age. The video last about 40 minutes, and included a wonderful segment on coprolite, which is a fossilised mineral formed from excrement. In this particular case, it was human coprolite.

Seriously.

Fossilised human poop

This was, obviously, a hit with the students. None of them seemed to be nearly as impressed with the fact that the largest sheet of ice that covered North America weighed 132,000,000,000,000 pounds. Nor were they impressed with the idea that the south tip of Florida is mostly likely going to be completely underwater in about 20 years. They weren’t even impressed when they learned that camels originated in North America and came to Asia via the land bridge near Siberia.

Nope, they were most impressed with the idea that poop can be fossilised. I can’t say I blame them, though. I’d love to have a piece of human coprolite to keep on my desk at school, just because it is a funny concept, and I’m sure it’d be a great conversation starter.

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