The Value of the Unimaginable
It started with my gift to Jack and Owen, which was a fossil collection. While the number of fossils was not as large as the one at the University of Chicago, it does contain a wide assortment of fossils. Additionally, it allows me to teach them a college level geology class while I babysit for them in Indy. Jack is fascinated with trilobites and will tell anyone interested the etymology of the term, trilobite.
Owen, for some reason, is fascinated with dinosaur dung, which he calls dinosaur poop. While I did take 10-hours of geology many years ago at Muskingum College, I am not an expert on dinosaur dung, which is called coprolite by those in geology.
Nonetheless, I certainly know enough about the coprolite of dinosaurs to impress Jack who is nearly five and Owen who is nearly three. If the truth be known, you, my readers, will probably be impressed with my knowledge of the topic also. Email me your impression of my knowledge regarding dinosaur dung on a scale from 1-10. One means not impressed at all, and ten being highly impressed. I will reply to all the emails that I receive.
Let me start with what Jack and Owen know about coprolite. Parts of anything that a dinosaur eats will wind up as dung in a day or so. Additionally, the fossilized dung will also have traces of dung beetles, insects, and other microorganisms. During my geology class with them, I show them the parallel that they have with dinosaurs. Some of the foods they eat during the day will wind up in the toilet. Interestingly, know that the color of their bowel movement can be affected by certain foods.
The next thing that Jack and Owen learned about dung was that size was important. I started that lecture with asking them if a big dinosaur pooped what would they expect the dung to be size-wise as opposed to a real small dinosaur's dung. Jack then reminds Owen about Tyrannosaurus Rex and Dreadnoughtus since both of them were very large. He thinks that either the T-Rex or Dreadnoughtus' poop would be a big as their playroom in their home.
In addition, as interested as Owen is about dinosaur dung, scientists have only discovered about a dozen different types of dung/coprolite over the many hundreds of various dinosaurs that have been found. Owen, in a couple years, will ask me about why that is true. I will begin the researching now, and, by that time, I will have a good answer to why the discrepancy between the numbers of coprolites and dinosaurs.
Then I showed them jewelry made from coprolite. Always the loving son, Jack wonders whether his mother would like some coprolite jewelry. I suggested that he might ask her.
In the meantime, I read several other articles on the Internet about coprolite and came across another interesting fact. Ashes of burned dove dung are good for baldness.
Jack has recently noticed the difference between the two of us related to our relative ages. He calls my facial skin mushy, and he is intrigued by seeing my blue veins in my hand. He also notices places in my mustache that are white like my hair on my head.
Jack tries to understand the balding process, as people get older. I resorted to two explanations for my balding. I told him that I think a lot about things, which results in the hair thinning due to my brain overheating. My other explanation had to do with his driving one of his cars on my head a couple years ago. My guess is that Jack will return to his question on baldness within the year, because he will question both my explanations.
At our next college class, I will discuss with Jack and Owen the benefits of dove dung. This is a photo of a dung beetle busy at moving some animal's coprolite to his home.
While researching dove coprolite and baldness, the process is to gather some dove dung, burn it, and then rub the ashes on the bald areas of one's head. I figure that it will take a month or more to collect dove dung. Then I will bake it and rub it on some of my head that are bald or nearing baldness. Several weeks after that, I will be able to tell whether the dove dung is working.
While doing my research on doves, I came across an article about the dung of screech owls. Allegedly, that dung works wonders on dealing with melancholy. In addition, I also found this photo about some zoo attendant collecting elephant coprolite. The article did not mention how that dung would be used.