Palaeontologists Find The Gland Before Time In ‘Perfectly Preserved’ Dinosaur Butthole

Palaeontologists Find The Gland Before Time In ‘Perfectly Preserved’ Dinosaur Butthole

Scientists have discovered a preserved dinosaur butt so perfect that they have been able to tell it was used for just about everything – popping, peeing, laying eggs and getting busy. We simply must stan this all-purpose hole.

A perfectly preserved dinosaur butthole

Belonging to the Psittacosaurus, the cloacal vent (a less fun name for butthole) is said to be unique. In addition to being used for breeding and expelling its bowels, which is quite normal in land vertebrates, it also may have also been used for mating.

According to researchers, there seem to be two small bumps that they think could have been ‘musky scent glands’ used to attract the opposite sex.

This anamoical addition is said to be primarily found in members of the crocodile family.

A close-up of the cloaca, within an off-white coprolite at centre. (Image: Jakob Vinther)
A close-up of the cloaca, within an off-white coprolite at centre. (Image: Jakob Vinther)

According to Jakob Vinther, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol, the Psittacosaurus’ has a “unique” anatomy. While it is similar to that of some crocodile species, he told Live Science that the dinosaur has “its own cloaca, shaped in its perfect, unique way.”

“Then, I got a chance to look at the specimen again, up close, and suddenly realized, ‘Oh my god, the cloaca is actually quite well preserved, and we can actually see some anatomy that I didn’t think we could see,” Vinther said.

“It’s like a Swiss Army knife of excretory openings. It does everything.”

The dinosaur fossil is from China, but it is currently housed in a Frankfurt museum. (Image: Jakob Vinther)
The dinosaur fossil is from China, but it is currently housed in a Frankfurt museum. (Image: Jakob Vinther)

Psittacosaurus, who is she?

The Psittacosaurus was a dinosaur that roamed the earth during the Cretaceous period. According to Live Science, it was the size of the Labrador, had a bristled tail and a horned face, making it a relation of the Triceratops.

Unfortunately scientists have not been able to tell whether this was a male or female due to the reproductive soft tissues not surviving.

However, we do know that the outside areas of the cloaca has a darker shade of melanin. There’s a couple of theories as to why. Firstly, that perhaps like the red butts of baboons, it could be a sign of sexual readiness.

Alternatively, it could have been there as antimicrobial protection, just like humans.

“We have melanin in certain parts of the body that never sees the light of day,” Vinther said to Live Science.

“Our liver is chock-full of melanin … because we don’t want microbial infections in these places.”

Apparently old mate Psittacosaurus was also full of something else. Scientists also found a present left by the dinosaur – a fossilised poop.