Scatology is the science of analyzing scat or feces. The information gained
is used to determine such things as the presence of an animal and the composition of its
diet. Fossilized feces (coprolites) from dinosaurs have been found and analyzed to
determine the animal's diet.
To create a sample of artificial fecal material and analyze the contents of an
Paper, pencils, small trays, toothpicks or craft sticks, zip lock bags, 4-6 sets of
miscellaneous food items (bread, beans, peanuts, raisins, rice, peas). Each set should
contain contain different items. 4-6 "keys" showing all the possible food items.
Divide the class into 4-6 groups. Distribute a set of food items to each group,
a zip lock bag, one or two pieces of bread, and a small amount of water. The bag
represents an animal. It should be labeled with a number or name. Each group feeds its
animal by choosing from the food items provided. They may use all or only some of the
materials. They must, however, record each item used and the amount. Small pieces of
bread are added to provide bulk. Add enough water to create a moist mixture. Set aside
for a day to "digest". The "animals" are exchanged among groups, noting the name or
number. Squeeze out the contents of the bag onto a small tray--the animal is
"defecating". Dissect the scat using the toothpicks or craft sticks. Use the key to identify
what the mystery animal ate and how much. Construct a graph to illustrate amounts of
each food item eaten. Check answers with the group that originally fed the "animal."