Teacher’s Questions for Delving into Dung


Before reading:

  1. What could an animal’s dung reveal about its diet?
  2. Why would studying an endangered or rare animal’s droppings be an easier, safer or more practical way to learn more about these species?

During reading:

  1. Why did Sam Wasser first become interested in studying animal droppings?
  2. List three things scientists can learn from an animal’s dung.
  3. Why does dung include an animal’s DNA?
  4. Explain why certain dogs are good at sniffing out scat.
  5. What important action did Wasser’s research in Brazil suggest farmers should take?
  6. Would GC levels rise or fall when whales are stressed or starved?
  7. Explain why dung beetles form manure balls.
  8. Give a likely reason why dung beetles sometimes “dance” on manure balls.
  9. What did Emily Baird’s silicone booties experiment suggest about dung beetle behavior?
  10. How can coprolites shed light on how an extinct species lived?
  11. What did the pollen that Jamie Wood discovered in the kakapo coprolites suggest?
  12. What is Wood’s hunch about kakapos and Hades flowers?

After reading:

  1. Did reading this story change your mind about the importance of poop? Why or why not?
  2. What animal’s droppings might you be interested in studying? Explain your selection.


  1. Some communities are using DNA to identify dogs whose owners don’t scoop their poop. Would you want your community to use such a system? Why or why not?