More about mammoths : Diet

What Can We Learn from Fossil Dung?

Scientists also know mammoths ate grass from looking at fossil mammoth dung, or poop!


mammoth dung

Grasslands similar to where mammoths dined and fossil dung a mammoth left behind.

Paleontologists have found Columbian mammoth dung in several large caves in the southwest. The dung contains pieces of grass and other plants.

One particular cave, Bechan cave in southern Utah, has a dung blanket 16 inches thick with a total volume of 8,000 cubic feet ! This may seem like a lot, but if you think about it, an African elephant drops 200-300 pounds of dung a day! So, a group of mammoths could have easily covered the bottom of Bechan cave in just a few years.

Grassland photo by David Smith; fossil dung photo by by Larry Agenbroad

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