Dassie toilets record earth’s climate changes

Date:1 February 2011

British geographers are scaling remote rock formations in Namibia and Botswana to locate crystallised formations created by 30 000 years of urine from a small, furry animal called the rock hyrax . commonly known as the dassie. Hyraxes use the same communal toilet area for generations, creating a valuable organic record of environmental changes. Forensic analysis of the deposits reveals the plants the hyraxes ate over the centuries, providing clues to the creatures' evolving environment.