Termite Coprolites and Balls in Petrified Wood

Chewed and Pooed

So what is cooler than a piece of petrified wood? A piece of petrified wood filled with petrified poop, of course!

This piece of petrified wood was found in 2008, in the sandy soil near the Belgium border at the Buschtunnel, in the forested Preuswald District of Aachen, Germany. It contains a plethora of coprolites of different sizes. Because of their hexagonal cross sectional shape, most are believed to be from termites. The majority of the fecal pellets have a diameter of about 0.3 mm x 0.5 mm long. The larger ones are about 0.5 mm in diameter x 1 mm long. Because of the presence of termite balls in the same area containing the larger coprolites, it is possible that the larger coprolites are that of the colony queen or king. While the king is larger than that of the average colony inhabitant, the termite queen can be over double the size of her subjects.

Termite balls are fungi balls that mimic termite eggs. They survive by tricking termites into thinking they are their eggs so the termites take care of them. Pretty sneaky, huh?