Washington, June 9 (ANI): Scientists have again found evidence that mammoths used to munch their own leavings - which they call 'coprophagy'.
A team led by Bas van Geel of the University of Amsterdam found fungus spores deep inside a piece of mammoth dung that can only grow on the outside of dung - eating which was the only way for the beast to get fungus.
Now the evidence has got them wondering why the woolly beasts indulged in this behaviour. Some say they could have been starving after a rough winter on the arid steppe climate of northwestern Alaska 12,000 years ago, while some believe that the excreta was rich with vitamin K, B12, and B7 left behind my microbes that feasted on it.
According to Discovery News, young elephants eat the faeces of their mother to obtain the necessary bacteria for the proper digestion of the vegetation found on the savannah.
Coprophagy is an important means of making a variety of nutrients synthesized by intestinal microflora available to animals. Fermentation products that are synthesized in the intestinal tract may not be adsorbed at their site of formation and the animal might, therefore, be dependent upon the recycling of feces in order to utilize these products.
For most animals, it's a survival mechanism, whether they really need it or not.
The study is published in press in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews. (ANI)