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Leeone Luwen
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Most of the largest animals in Earth’s history are now gone — dinosaurs, mammoths, megalodons, whales. And gone with them are their sizable bowel movements. Scientists say that’s bad news for Earth’s fertility.

In a new study published in the journal PNAS, scientists suggest Earth is a less productive place with fewer and fewer large predators around. Large animals on land and in the sea, researchers now realize, played an outsized role in recycling nutrients.

By eating and pooping in different places, the animal kingdom works like giant compost bin. And the largest animals, especially those that travel great distances, played an especially big role in the process.

When dinosaurs, and later large “megafauna” mammals, ruled the land and massive whales and sharks dominated the sea, the Earth’s biggest species turned over a significant amount of phosphorous — the most vital nutrient for plant growth. Today, phosphorous and other nutrients are mostly recycled by Earth’s tiniest organisms, bacteria.

Microbes have always been important, but they used to have a lot more help.

We posted this story to The Daily Catchhttp://theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch/without-poo-from-large-animals-earth-is-less-fertile/

#nature   #environment   #whale   #poo  
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