In the scene from Primeval S1E05 around 26:43, a team member tastes the Pteranodon dung. enter image description here It reminded me of the famous Jurassic Park scene with Triceratops poop. Except now the paleontologist is going beyond examination, and tasting the poop! Is tasting the poop just a gag to evoke reactions, or is there some actual science?

  • Well after some very quick searches for "zoology" and "tasting animal feces" all that I can find is articles about dogs eating their own poop and coprophagia. The only thing I can think that could be learned from this is to determine what the animal ate. – sanpaco Jan 11 '17 at 3:26
  • Right, my own thinking would be that it's unsafe and reckless. However, like others have shown sometimes the break-throughs can come from crazy ideas. – 杜興怡 Jan 11 '17 at 22:07

I've seen a couple of wildlife programmes in which the presenter has tasted elephant dung.

The rationale is that you can determine the sex of the elephant from the taste of its dung and so can judge if you are likely to encounter a herd that could be a danger to you.
Female dung is sweeter.

Trying to track down evidence for this, all I've found is a couple of articles:

So yes, there is some science behind it.

Also, Bear Grylls has eaten it in one or two of his programmes, but I wouldn't necessarily call that scientific!

  • Wild! but the evidence must bear out the practice of tasting. That photo -- gold. – 杜興怡 Jan 11 '17 at 22:00
  • I'd rather just avoid elephants period. – sanpaco Jan 11 '17 at 23:28
  • Rabbit hunters have been known to chew rabbit droppings. Rabbit eat their first droppings to reprocess them. The second droppings are considerably harder/tougher than the first. When a hunter finds softer droppings, that means the rabbit is likely to come back to eat them. – Flater Feb 21 '19 at 11:56

Pre-modern doctors reportedly tasted urine to diagnose certain diseases such as diabetes:




Slightly different bodily secretion, but confirms that there is some precedent to back up the Elephant dung tasting mentioned by @Chenmunka (although I have no explanation for Bear Grylls;)

  • uromancers, fascinating. And uroscopy going back to Hippocrates, even. – 杜興怡 Jan 11 '17 at 22:02

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