1. Research (CONICET) have discovered the oldest parasite DNA ever recorded. The discovery was made in the coprolite of a prehistoric puma in Argentina.
  2. Ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis was used to confirm the coprolite came from a Puma. The parasite eggs belonged to Toxascaris leonina, a species of roundworm still commonly found in the digestive systems of modern day cats, dogs and foxes.
  3. Coprolites are fossilised faeces belonging to animals that lived millions of years ago. They are called trace fossils, meaning not of the animal’s actual body.
  4. By examining the shape and size of coprolites, as well as where they were found, scientists can detect what kind of animal the droppings might have come from. Coprolites also contain clues about an animal’s diet.