The man looking for “shit” all over the world

  Speaking of feces, everyone frowns in disgust, but some people are willing to travel the world looking for feces. One of the best is George Franson.
Became popular for looking for “shit”

  George Franson is an American paleontologist. Unlike other paleontologists, his research object is not animal and plant remains or habitat sites, but animal feces fossils. In 2015, Franson had traveled to 15 U.S. states and 8 other countries, collecting 1,277 dung fossils left by various animals ranging from large dinosaurs to small insects, and was listed as a feat. Enter the Guinness Book of World Records and become the person who finds the most “shit” in the world. Now, his collection has reached more than 7,000 pieces and still retains the above-mentioned “laurel crown”.
  What was the opportunity that allowed Franson to embark on this unique path of finding “shit”? That day began when Franson was in college. In order to complete the task of finding small fossils arranged by the teacher in the natural history class, Franson searched every store selling unique collections, but for a long time he could not find the fossils he needed until he saw such a one in a store. Strange specimen: It looks completely different from those common gray-fluttering fossils, showing a beautiful golden color, just like a fascinating piece of gold. What kind of fossil is this? The boss’s answer made Franson couldn’t believe it, it turned out to be a dung fossil from an unknown creature!
  Franson has since fallen into the charm of fecal fossils. It is completely different from when it was just “born”. After the feces become fossils, they have various shapes and colors, and the odor-producing substances in it have completely dissipated. To the outsider, this is a hard and odorless stone. Why does the feces change like this? Can any feces become fossils? Franson is determined to answer these questions through his own efforts.
  After searching for fecal fossils, Franson summarized the necessary and sufficient conditions for “making” a piece of fecal fossils: First, eat more meat, eggs, milk and other foods containing more inorganic minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which can make the feces It is easier to form and harden; secondly, choose a good natural toilet, such as a lake, deep sea or swamp, which is isolated from the air, to minimize the decomposition of feces; finally, when the feces are successfully buried in the ground, the rest is handed over Luck and time. If this piece of excrement is fortunately not destroyed by geological changes or other organisms during the tens of thousands of years of historical changes, it is likely to cross a long river of time and realize the promise of thousands of years to future generations.
The must-have tips for finding “shit”

  Knowing how feces can form fossils, this allows Franson to look for fossils more directionally. But if you want to find a fecal fossil, you need to know more, such as how to distinguish between fecal fossils and ordinary rocks.
  Although the shape and size of fecal fossils vary, the intestines of most animals are in a long spiral shape, and the feces discharged are similar to what we see in cartoons, with threads of different shades. Birds and other animals with shorter rectums excrete feces in small balls.
  Of course, fecal fossils will experience many external forces during the formation process, and their shape may also change. Moreover, there are also some rocks that will look like feces under geological action. Therefore, it is not safe to judge by the appearance alone. At this time, it is necessary to analyze the chemical composition of the fossil. For example, the concentration of crocodile’s stomach acid is so high that its feces are so sour that it is difficult for them to swallow; the feces of most dinosaurs contain low solids. Experienced Franson can quickly know the chemical composition indicators of different stools that need to be tested. In addition, the food residue in the feces is also helpful to identify its identity. If an animal eats a fish, its subsequent feces may be full of residues such as fish scales and fins. This is also an important difference between fecal fossils and ordinary stones. .
  However, before conducting chemical analysis, Franson has to determine one thing, that is, who is the “owner” of this piece of feces? If the owner cannot be found, Franson will not be able to judge whether it is a fecal fossil based on the analysis result, and will not be able to conduct follow-up research. In this regard, Franson also has his own method: to obtain the “three-dimensional” of the fecal fossils, and then analyze the conditions of the stratum, geological age, and other nearby animal fossils, and finally find the owner of the feces.
  Franson’s collection of the largest and most proud fecal fossil “precious” was to find the owner through the above methods. This is a huge piece of nearly cylindrical feces weighing 1.92 kilograms. It does not have a circle of threads like common feces. It has a smoother surface and a more regular shape, which is similar to modern crocodile feces. “Precious” was discovered in the river valley of South Carolina, USA. The date of birth can be traced back to the Miocene age between 238,000 and 5.3 million years ago. Based on this, Franson deduced that its owner should be a huge crocodile about 6 meters long. .
Hidden secrets in “shit”

  Franson traveled around the world to collect dung fossils not just for curiosity, these fossils show us many magnificent prehistoric pictures.
  Among Franson’s many fossils, the most unique is the first fossil he bought containing teeth from other animals. In 2016, a diver found this fossil in the shallow waters of South Carolina, USA, and he sold it to Franson, a well-known “shit” expert.
  Franson judged that this was the dung fossil of one of the largest crocodiles in prehistoric times, the dein. Because it is judged that the tooth in this fossil should be a shark tooth. Since no traces of digestion were found on this tooth, whether it is a modern crocodiles or ancient crocodiles, their digestive functions are powerful enough to wipe out almost everything, even bones, horns and teeth. Therefore, Franson believes that this tooth was left by the shark while looking for food in the dung of the alligator. Given that studies have shown that deino alligators can fight against dinosaurs of the same size and feed on dinosaurs, perhaps this shark who wanted to “treasure hunt” in deino alligator feces was hiding aside at the time, watching a two-power battle for supremacy. In the war, I wanted to find dinosaur meat in the dung of the victor, the crocodile, to fight the tooth sacrifice, but accidentally dropped his own teeth.
  Franson also found that the dein’ alligator feces contained sand and shell fragments, which indicated that the dein’ alligator often inhabited estuaries and mainly feeds on sea turtles. It seems that deinocos are not picky eaters. Whether it is a turtle or a crocodile, it will try to hunt them when it encounters any prey near its habitat until it fills its stomach.
  In addition to reconstructing the habits and recipes of paleontology, fecal fossils have more functions. For example, it can be used to reconstruct the ancient environment. By examining the plant components in the fecal fossils, the local natural vegetation at the time when the feces appeared can be inferred. Fecal fossils also indicate phosphate rock resources. When fecal fossils are piled up into layers, extremely abundant phosphate rock will be formed. Phosphate rock is an important chemical mineral raw material, which can be made into fertilizers and gunpowder.
  In order to share his collections with the world and promote related research, Franson established a website named “poozeum (feces museum)”. Not only can people learn about fecal fossils from the website, but colleagues from all over the world can also Apply to Franson through the website to obtain fossils or information for research.
  After the baptism of time, the old waste has given new life again. At the same time, I also want to thank Franson and other “treasure diggers” for showing us such an alternative treasure.

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