How would you like a career in poo? Dr. Piers D Mitchell loves the stuff, can’t get enough of it, gets it in the mail. Work in the septic field? Nope. Municipal wastewater facility? No again. So what is he a Dr. of? Well, dung history’ Specifically he studies crap from the past. Working from labs at The University of Cambridge Mitchell has a keen interest in biological pathology, particularly parasite infestation of humans throughout our evolution. Turns out the field is rich and ripe for study and a lot more can be learned from the study of feces than the fact that ancient humans subsisted largely on a diet of Cornnuts, buffalo jerky and Ding-Dongs, (which yielded fecal matter with a strikingly long half-life). What Dr. Mitchell is looking for in the relic piles is not necessarily diet but what infestations humans had in the past, the evolutionary changes wrought by the little buggers and how to deal with the current creatures that co-inhabit the race today.
Among his enlightening discoveries:
- Early humans did not shave. Removal of facial hair was an important factor for purposes of self defense, (minimization of things to grab), convenience and appearance but, lacking razors, early mankind relied upon lesser members of the clan to gnaw excess body hair off.
- Lice have been with us since the dawn of time. Lice were encouraged in early times as a form of entertainment.
- Privacy was important. The contortions involved in ordinary bodily functions were considered vulgar even in early days, especially when a proper leaf supply was not available.
- Diets were wildly varied. While most prehistorical diets followed the feast/famine cycle common to indigenous peoples around the world some tribes dined rather regularly on their neighbors.
- Hygiene was important. Just as the left hand holds a particular significance in middle eastern countries, ancient peoples were hesitant to touch each others elbows.
- Rodentia were seldom eaten whole. Out of custom or habit the two signature incisors were usually removed prior to ingestion.
For more information on the study of evolutionary faecal matter and its impact on modern society, or simply to waste more of your precious time on the S.O.S. visit this website.