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April 27, 2019 2:16 PM   Subscribe

1,550 years ago, someone ate a rattlesnake whole—and we have poo to prove it [Ars Technica] “Sometime around 450 CE in the Chihuahuan Desert, one brave soul ate a whole rattlesnake raw. If you think that takes guts, imagine passing an 11mm (0.43 inch) fang afterward. The desiccated coprolite—archaeologists’ term for ancient poop—contained the scales and bones of the snake along with remnants of a small rodent and an assortment of edible desert plants. It’s a great example of how coprolites can give archaeologist a direct (sometimes unnervingly direct) look at what ancient people ate.”
posted by Fizz (47 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well. Hard to know what to say.

Of all the things I've heard, this is certainly the most recent.
posted by hototogisu at 2:22 PM on April 27 [56 favorites]


This validates posts having titles.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:26 PM on April 27 [21 favorites]


Based on the amount of the skeleton present, all the hair, and the fact that the mouse bones also show no signs of cooking, it’s likely that the mouse, too, was eaten whole—but perhaps not by the person who (ahem) authored the coprolite. Instead, Sonderman and her colleagues suggest the snake may have swallowed the mouse as its last meal before being eaten in turn.

What a beautiful example of the food chain in action.

Reminds me of this: This Photographer Caught a Bird That Caught a Shark That Caught a Fish (previously)
posted by cynical pinnacle at 2:32 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


Eating a whole rattlesnake is not quite the same thing as eating a rattlesnake whole...
posted by howfar at 2:35 PM on April 27 [28 favorites]


If the rattlesnake had been playing a video game (and encouraging positive community interaction), this would be the most Fizz post ever.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:51 PM on April 27 [19 favorites]


"there was an old lady who swallowed a snake who swallowed a mouse who swallowed some cactus....." Ouch!
posted by mermayd at 2:52 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


If the rattlesnake had been playing a video game (and encouraging positive community interaction), this would be the most Fizz post ever.

Ohhhhh, how I wish you could have seen the joy on Fizz's face just now when he read your comment, Genji. He's still giggling.
posted by nightrecordings at 2:58 PM on April 27 [14 favorites]


"pull my finger"
posted by pyramid termite at 3:02 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


“Look on my shits, ye mighty, and despair!”
posted by Ryvar at 3:23 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


Instead, Sonderman and her colleagues suggest the snake may have swallowed the mouse as its last meal before being eaten in turn.

Worst turducken ever!
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:26 PM on April 27 [13 favorites]


Or the best!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:31 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Or was this just an early example of someone going all in on a dare?
posted by filthy light thief at 3:47 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


I was wondering that too - dare, or part of a ritual?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:18 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Turd ucken?
posted by not_the_water at 4:35 PM on April 27 [10 favorites]


To be fair they didn't have AskMe 1,500 years ago . Where should they have posted that "Should I eat it?" question?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:52 PM on April 27 [17 favorites]


I was expecting something about how eating snakes would make you poop microscopes.
posted by not_on_display at 5:17 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Snake sushi. Bunch of hipsters.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:25 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


proof that "hey y'all hold my beer" is not a new phenomenon
posted by entropicamericana at 5:38 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


This is why I don't believe in paleo - we made it this far because we can and will eat pretty much anything.
posted by Selena777 at 5:44 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


Eating a whole rattlesnake is not quite the same thing as eating a rattlesnake whole...

Not even close - get out of here with this clickbait falsity! Next up, Michel Lotito devours an aircraft in one bite! 🙄
posted by exogenous at 7:00 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Tired: The Snake-Fighting Portion of your Dissertation
Wired: The Snake-Eating-and-then-Pooping-Back-Out-in-Microscope-Form Portion of your Research Lab Setup Process
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:12 PM on April 27


There's a grass in a mouse in a snake in a man in the bottom of the sea...
posted by bleep at 7:26 PM on April 27 [9 favorites]


But its shape and contents pointed to a large omnivore, and in the Lower Pecos, that can pretty much only mean a human “author.”

A quick glance at Wikipedia looks like wolves, coyotes, and possibly black bears have lived in that area and certainly would be more likely to eat a rattlesnake (and mouse) than a person.

Properly prepared, though, rattlesnake is quite good. I’ve had it battered and fried like chicken and it had a mild flavor and flaky texture that was reminiscent of fish.
posted by TedW at 8:00 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Bless you, Fizz.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:23 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Early people had to eat a lot of snakes and pine cones for every pineapple and crab and cooked egg type find.
posted by bleep at 10:25 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Is it coprolites month?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:52 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


A quick glance at Wikipedia looks like wolves, coyotes, and possibly black bears have lived in that area and certainly would be more likely to eat a rattlesnake (and mouse) than a person.

And then come and make its poop in the latrine at the front of the cave?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:18 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Is it coprolites month?

Oh god don’t tempt the poop cabal.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:26 AM on April 28 [8 favorites]


Maybe one of their dogs was house trained to poop where the people did? ...but it's cooler imagine a guy or gal who could shit rattlesnakes.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:27 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Is it coprolites month?

Coprolites month was 10s of 1000s of years ago, and any FPPs will need to be posted to the Retroactive Queue. As you can imagine, the wait is long, since it’s backed up.

...as it were.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:31 AM on April 28 [11 favorites]


I hate to admit it but I really wanted to see a photo of this.
posted by waving at 9:28 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


“don’t tempt the poop cabal”



I have just imagined three completely different scenarios, and one documentary film, wherein that phrase would be useful.


This is how I’m spending my Sunday while sick in bed.
posted by darkstar at 10:06 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I have it on PoopNet that there has just been an investigatory party sent to the darkstar in order to tempt the citizens to leave the bed and join them in the library. I think by "library" they meant whatever rooms in the darkstar they keep toilets in. This message is a little confusing. PoopNet's MeFi subchannel is usually quiet, but the chatter has risen quite significantly recently.
posted by not_on_display at 10:42 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Oh god don’t tempt the poop cabal.

I'm told the preferred nomenclature is "cable."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:03 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I'll admit I sometimes read the thread to evaluate if the link will provide quality time spent. When Waving's comment implied that the article would provide no photo of this amazing little nugget, I kind of lost heart a bit.. But heck it, somebody braved eating a rattlesnake (however recently) I might as well go check it out.
posted by Lizard at 2:23 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I am generally too old to speak fluent emoji, but wow, Fizz, you hit that title out of the park.

No point fighting the return to hieroglyphics as the dominant writing system any longer.
posted by bcd at 7:48 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Oh god don’t tempt the poop cabal.

You baby.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:04 PM on April 28


Guys, guys! Emmy Rae found a picture!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:07 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


I suspect this is some of the early research that eventually led to the saying - if you eat a live frog for breakfast, the day can only get better.
posted by Devonian at 5:49 AM on April 29


I hate to admit it but I really wanted to see a photo of this.
tl;dr - pics or GTFO.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:56 PM on April 29


pics or GTFO

Dude, I posted pics two comments before yours!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:38 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


The coprolite sample containing evidence of whole-snake consumption was placed in storage back in the late 1970s. Sonderman, along with colleagues Crystal Dozier from Wichita State University and Morgan Smith from Texas A&M University, have been re-analyzing the various items excavated during the prior digs at Conejo Shelter.

"Y'all wanna look at that old shit again?"
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:41 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


The good news is that plenty of coprolites were uncovered at Conejo Shelter.

My first thought upon reading that sentence was this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon.


But its shape and contents pointed to a large omnivore, and in the Lower Pecos, that can pretty much only mean a human “author.”

"Dropping the kids off at the pool" is a phrase for the unwashed masses. That's why I use a more genteel term: authoring a tome.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:52 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


authoring a tome

Going by that term I've created many uninteresting historical records, a few horrors, and a farce or two I'd really rather not talk about.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:16 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Don't get me started about my writer's block.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:26 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Try working it out with a pencil.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


“Doing the Lower Pecos proud.”
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:12 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


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