It’s a first for paleontology, and one that might produce a giggle. For the first time, scientists have been able to describe in fine detail a dinosaur’s cloaca. If you’re not familiar with that body part, CNET translates: It’s essentially “a jack-of-all-trades butthole.”
The study published Tuesday in Current Biology concerns a dog-size herbivore that lived about 120 million years ago called Psittacosaurus. Scientists with the University of Bristol write that “it was previously noted that the cloacal region was preserved” though flattened in this fossil, found decades ago in China, but the detailed anatomy of the region hadn’t been properly reconstructed. That’s what they managed, via a 3D model of the opening of the orifice, which was used for defecation, urination, copulation, and birth.
There’s much to be learned about the new discovery, though we already guessed the T Rex’s arms were too small to wipe.