Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

Where Does An Elephant Poop? Wherever It Wants

The Bacteria in the Soil

They also collected and analyzed the micro-organisms in the soil. Many of the bacteria from the churned-up layer were Clostridium. They normally make up only 2-3% of the bacterial population in soil, but they were above 12% of the bacteria in that layer. Clostridium make up over 70% per cent of the microbes in horse manure. They are very stable in soil, surviving for thousands of years. That makes them especially dangerous, as some are deadly pathogens. Clostridium histolyticum excretes collegenase, which eats through animal tissue. Clostridium botulinum creates the lethal neurotoxin used to manufacture Botox. Other strains cause gas gangrene.

The abundance of endospore bacteria from mammal digestive systems can only be explained by the passage of at least hundreds to thousands of animals, far more than would be involved in tribal trade at that time.

So, Are We Certain It Was Hannibal?

There is uncertainty in the carbon 14 dating, and the churning itself makes sampling within that layer uncertain. But there definitely was some army-sized group of animals that passed through that site around the time of Hannibal's invasion. It could have been another similar group, but history doesn't tell us of any alternatives.

Hannibal's army looks like the best explanation for what they found.

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King Hezekiah Ritually Defiles a Shrine to Ba'al with a Latrine
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King Hezekiah Ritually Defiles a Shrine to Ba'al with a Latrine

In 2016, archaeologists at the site of Tel Lachish in Israel discovered a toilet that very likely played an important role in a religious reform in the Kingdom of Judah during the eighth century B.C.E. King Hezekiah carried out sweeping religious changes throughout his kingdom. He abolished the local worship of traditional deities in favor of centralized worship of the one God of Israel at the Temple in Jerusalem. The toilet discovered at Tel Lachish seems to have been used to ritually defile a

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Was There Toilet Paper Along the Han Dynasty's Silk Road?

Two thousand years ago, travelers on the Silk Road cleaned themselves with sticks after using the toilet. No paper, just sticks with cloth wrappers. Researchers studied these toilet sticks to finally prove some long-debated theories about travel and how diseases spread. They discovered signs of several parasites on personal hygiene sticks found at an ancient latrine at Xuanquanzhi along the east edge of the Tarim Basin. Some were species that needed wet marshy areas for parts of their life cycles, suggesting that people from

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How to Discover Ancient Toilets through Biochemistry

How do you discover ancient toilets and sewers? By finding human poop. And how do you detect ancient human poop? Biochemistry! Scientists have used coprostanol for several decades now to detect human feces. It's similar to cholesterol, and it's produced in the human digestive system. Now a group has shown that bile acids are even more useful for detecting the specific makeup of human feces. They demonstrated how well this works by analyzing sediment from a 1400-year-old sewer in the Agora in Athens. The

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Panchagavya, an Ayurvedic elixir of dung and urine

Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine advocates using Panchagavya as a cure-all for ailments ranging from diabetes to cancer, from schizophrenia to autism. Panchagavya is a concoction of five products of the cow. It includes three direct products — dung, urine, and milk — and two derived products — yoghurt and ghee (or clarified butter). These ingredients are mixed in specified ratios and then allowed to ferment. Some references include four more ingredients: jaggery (or raw cane sugar), banana, coconut, and water. The dung and ghee

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£290,000 Fine for Missing Toilet Paper

In March 2017, a British Airways flight from London to Barbados was held at the airport for over five hours because of missing supplies, including toilet paper. The airline may be required to pay delayed passengers up to £291,200 in compensation. Flight BA 2153 was scheduled to depart London Gatwick at 13:40 on Sunday, March 5th. The plane, a Boeing 777, had 280 passengers on board. It was scheduled to cross the Atlantic and arrive on the Caribbean island of Barbados at 18:37 local

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Do You Poop Gold?

Gold and other valuable metals appear in the wastewater stream. No one is excreting the proverbial golden brick. Some of the flow into the sewage system goes through surface runoff, and many of the metals come from dirt and dust on roads and parking lots. Other metals come from manufacturing, especially of semiconductors and other electronics. A sewage treatment facility in Japan discovered that their treated sludge contained more gold per ton than the ore at Japan's best gold mine. Some of the gold

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Geopolitics, Espionage, and Poop

A story carried by the BBC in late January 2016 reported that Joseph Stalin spied on Mao Zedong and other world leaders by collecting and analyzing their feces. Stalin is said to have directed his KGB henchman Lavrenti Beria to set up a secret department tasked with surreptitiously collecting and analyzing feces to gain insight into their targets' medical and psychological states. However, this isn't the only example of espionage via the toilet! The U.S. and France also tried to exploit this questionable source

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