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Fossilized human feces found in Oregon cave


Fossilized human feces have been found in a cave in Oregon. The fossils are thought to be more than 14,000 years old.


Matt Cardy

New fossilized DNA found in Oregon is proving that humans lived in cave dwellings as early as 14,300 years ago, the Associated Press reported. 

The DNA was extracted from coprolites, otherwise known as fossilized feces. reported that along with the coprolites, stone points were discovered in the same cave. The points found in the cave differ from those used by the Clovis people, once thought to be the first North Americas, suggesting that this tribe lived at the same time, or possibly before, the Clovis people. 

Dr. Thomas Stafford, Jr. of Stafford Research Laboratories told Fox News that "coprolites are as good as a human skeleton.”

How did a piece of human fecal matter survive 14 millennia? explained that young fossils, like the coprolites found in Oregon, are usually just really dry bits of organic matter. "Aerobic bacteria (bacteria that require oxygen) quickly break down wet organic matter; this makes a dry drop site crucial for the creation of young fossil," Slate explained. 

The Oregon caves where they coprolites were found happen to be extremely dry, creating a perfect environment for the DNA to survive. 

The report in the journal Nature theorized that the fecal matter sat on the floor of the cave for nearly 200 years before being buried by rocks and dirt where it was perfectly preserved for the ages. 

More from GlobalPost: New fossils suggest human ancestors originated in Asia, not Africa