We can’t say there’s been a moment in time where we’ve stared down the toilet bowl at the log we’ve just dropped and though, “Wow, I wonder how this measures on the scale of World’s Largest Human Poop?” But for some researchers, it appears the question of largest human poop has been something that has evaded them for decades and only now are we seeing the fruits of their labour.
It’s been unveiled that the largest human poo dates back to the 9th century, with the Lloyds Bank coprolite leading researchers to believe it belongs to a Viking man. If you thought human turds were something that could just be flushed down the drain with hopeless abandon, think again. This historical poo has come to captivate the scientific community, known simply as a large paleofaeces or coprolite, or a desiccated human dung specimen.
It was uncovered in the UK back in 1972 when archaeologists from the York Archaeological Trust were excavating an area that soon came to be solely associated with the giant poo. To the mere mortal it may have just appeared as a monstrosity, but these researchers were enraptured by the discovery. The specimen was handed over to officials who did elaborate testing and discovered that it measures 20cm long and 5cm wide - yep, it’s a big one.
Using the faeces, researchers were also able to determine just what the man was eating. They were able to discover that the poo was derived from a diet of mainly meat and bread, with the outside being described as ‘moist and peaty’ - a mental image we’d rather do without, thank you very much.
Researchers found ‘several hundred parasitic eggs’ in the poo, leading them to believe the man who did it wasn’t in the best of shape. Rather, he seemed to be riddled with intestinal worms. Gill Snape, a student conservator on a placement with the York Archaeological Trust, explained, “Whoever passed it probably hadn’t performed for a few days, shall we say. This guy had very itchy bowels.”
If all that wasn’t enough to prove just how valuable this piece of poo is, know that in 1991, York Archaeological Trust employee and paleoscatologist, Dr Andrew Jones, said: “This is the most exciting piece of excrement I’ve ever seen. In its own way, it’s as irreplaceable as the Crown Jewels.”
The poo is currently being housed in York’s Archaeological Resource Centre.