6 Mind-Blowing Ways Poop Created the Modern World

#3. Poop Sabotaged the Dead Sea Scrolls

Via Twu.ca

The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the most important archaeological finds of all time. In addition to being incredibly old, they also contain the earliest copies of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, making them a treasure trove for religious scholars. Most archeologists agree that the scrolls were written by a group of monks living in a place called Qumran who went by the awesome name the Essenes, presumably because it looked super badass embossed on the back of a leather jacket.

"Man, that monk sho' is one mad mutha'-"

And most theories agree that the Essenes had isolated themselves for one purpose: to copy the Bible into as many languages as possible, thus preserving it for a time centuries later when it could be recorded as a book-on-tape by Denzel Washington. Unfortunately, before they could accomplish the task, they were all wiped out, and no one was sure why.

Spoiler alert: They were killed by poop. This historic attempt to translate the Bible for the world was thwarted by the monks' own shit.

Via Wikipedia
To give you some perspective, those aren't walls.

Archeologists with the University of North Carolina followed directions in the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to locate the monks' latrines, because for some reason they wanted to do this. Over there, they found traces of ancient roundworms, tapeworms and pinworms -- all of which are human parasites.

To make matters worse, the waste sites were located near a canal, making the surrounding area where they lived the perfect moist breeding ground for the killer worms. You see, the monks would bury their poop, and this allowed the worms to fester and grow, as opposed to just dying in the sun. In fact, there were so many parasites where the Essenes lived, it was likely that fewer than 6 percent of the group survived to see 40.

They forgot the 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not hide thy poop from the eyes of the Lord."

If the monks had left their poop out to dry in the sun like spring laundry, they might have survived to complete their task, or at least lived long enough to get stomped into oblivion by the Romans, which is what happened to everybody else at around that time.

#2. Poop Wins Wars and Turns the Tides of History


Back in the 11th century when the Mongols were invading China, Kublai Khan (sort of like the Maggie Gyllenhaal to Katie Holmes' Genghis Kahn) was besieging various cities with a literal shit bomb -- an old Chinese recipe that called for powdered human or wolf feces with effects similar to mustard gas, causing terrible blisters and infection. The use of this crap-mentation grenade helped Kublai overrun China and solidify his reputation as one of the most powerful men in history.

Later, during the first World War, the usage of poop as an explosive really took off. Back then, the British government was really desperate for cheaper alternatives to traditional gunpowder.

Via Murdoconline.net
"Eh, let's just start stuffing it with poor people."

That's when they discovered the power of coprolites, known by the archeology community as fossilized dinosaur poop, which contains phosphate that can be used in munitions. That's right: Even dinosaur poop is badass.

For a bit, England went berserk trying to mine for coprolites, to the point of hiring thousands of men to scavenge for it. There are streets named after the stuff to this day.

Via Schmunda.blogspot
There's no reason to not have a bar on that street named Dinosaur Buttholes.

But even that pales in comparison to what the United States did for guano. It turns out that guano, or bat poop, makes a great fertilizer. It was for that reason that the people of Peru began mining for it. But guano turned into something much more. Just like coprolites, guano has a large amount of phosphorus -- the key element used in explosives. When word leaked out, the surrounding superpowers went into dick-swinging war mode, trying everything they could to bully Peru into giving them access.

In fact, in America laws were even passed saying that if any citizen so much as stumbled across some guano, the military could confiscate it. Shortly afterward, America had a light bulb moment and realized that bullying countries both a) came naturally and b) was excruciatingly easy. Thus, U.S. imperialism was born. All thanks to bat shit.

Via Wikipedia
This is an actual shit mine. We're assuming none of its workers ever saw a second date in their lives.

#1. Poop Cures Modern Diseases


Look, medical science isn't always a pretty thing. Cures aren't always born from the epiphany of some genius scientist in a laboratory. Sometimes they come from Nazis and shit.

For instance, we have the story of dysentery. During World War II, Nazi high command became aware of a very serious problem with their officers stationed in North Africa. They were all dying.

"Hans, why aren't you -- no! Hans, NOOO! This would be so much more emotionally engaging if we weren't both Nazis!"

The culprit was acute dysentery, which apparently was so bad that the German medical corps concluded it was killing more soldiers than Allied attacks. In a state of emergency, Germany sent over their best chemists and doctors to find a cure (history does not indicate whether they were aware of the pun-rife irony of a bunch of assholes shitting themselves to death). Despite the Third Reich's greatest minds all working in unison, they were initially unable to make any progress.

In desperation, they looked to the Bedouins, who seemed immune to the disease. What they discovered was that whenever a Bedouin caught dysentery, he or she would immediately eat a fistful of steaming camel droppings.

This made the camels much happier than it had any right to.

This somehow cured the disease, presumably because, while dysentery may be a malignant stomach-shredding condition, even it has standards. The Nazi scientists went to work on the camel poop and discovered the presence of Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium that seemed to be the only thing that could directly counter dysentery, sort of the Luke to its Anakin or the Batman to its Joker.

B. subtilis is still used today to combat virulent bacteria. In fact, it's used much in the same way as before. Doctors in Tampa, Florida, were able to cure a woman from a fatal bacterium by literally straining a healthy person's poop and then feeding it to her. The practice, known as a fecal transplant, is becoming more and more common to kill bacteria that have evolved to be immune to antibiotics, though we imagine the bedside discussion must be something to see.

"We're going to fill this entire area with shit. Then maybe you can reconsider the tone you take with our nurses."

Follow Mohammed Shariff here.

For more unexpected world changers, check out 5 Ways Porn Created the Modern World and The 7 Most Disastrous Typos Of All Time.

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