Friday, February 13, 2009

Human hair found in ancient Hyena poo

According to this Discovery article by Jennifer Viegas, ancient Hyenas dined on humans.

Deep in a cave in South Africa there is a pile of fossilized Hyena poo. It was well fossilized by cave conditions, and was an excellent source of biological material from approximately 200,000 years ago. The human hair identified in the scat is now by far the oldest non-bone ("soft-tissue") remains of humans ever found. The record before this stood at 9,000 years old, from a mummy in Chile.

Brings up some grisly images don't it?

Enjoy evidence of times when we weren't the Big Man On Campus,


[photo credit in linked article]


Chuck Butcher said...

Unarmed we still aren't the big man on campus. My Pyrenese weighs 150# and a bit of rough housing quickly demostrates that he'd be a real handful by himself, three or four of him at once without a weapon of real force would mean a disaster - of the poo sort.

Fortunately nothing could be further from his mind... But he does not like wild animals, at all.

nolocontendere said...

Amazing that the oldest identifiable tissue jumped to such a degree. I wonder if the hyena was a different, larger predator or if it was carcass carrion.

Bpaul said...

Chuck, good to see you sir.

nolo, I don't actually know the size of these ancient hyenas. I'd bet they were both hunters and scavengers as they are now though.