John McIntyre

In a word: coprolite

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word: 

Scientists take their evidence where they find it, and they do not hesitate to look for evidence about the environment in prehistory in coprolites (pronunced KAH-pruh-lites): pieces of fossilized excrement. Petrified dinosaur dung is thus a source of information about the food and habits of animals long extinct. 
The word combines the Greek roots kopros, "dung," and lithos, "stone." The kopros root has been active in English, giving us, among others, coprology, the study of obscene literature; coprolalia, dirty talk; and coprophagy, the eating of excrement. 

Example: From a 1995 article in USA Today: "Fossilized dinosaur poop, scientifically known as coprolite, goes for about $150 or less to people with more meager means."