- News Home
10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
- About Us
Premium for Ancient Poop
19 May 2004 (All day)
Betty Grable's famous legs were insured by Lloyd's of London for $1 million. Now the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina is trying to figure out the value of a much less sexy treasure: a football-sized chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop.
Weighing in at 7 kilograms, the Tyrannosaurus rex coprolite was the largest known when museum fossil hunters found it poking out of the Saskatchewan mud in 1995. But the rock's very uniqueness makes it difficult to set a price. So museum officials recently sent a note to an e-mail list for paleontologists, asking for opinions. It's all part of a routine insurance assessment, says earth sciences curator Harold Bryant.
Michael Sincak, owner of Treasures of the Earth Ltd. in Hollsopple, Pennsylvania, believes the coprolite would probably sell for $15,000 or more. But he's not sure, because nothing quite like it has ever been on the market. (You can get a small one for about $10 on eBay.) Scientifically, though, "it's priceless," says Mark Goodwin, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology. "You're trying to put a square peg in a round hole when you try to put a value on it."