For as long as we've had a rather immature obsession with dinosaurs, you'd think we'd have asked at some point, "Did they have wing-wangs and hoo-has? What did their poop chutes look like?" It turns out that, unlike more literal bones, it's really rare for such soft parts to survive ancient extinction, so until recently, scientists just had to cross their fingers and hope for an imprint. Thanks to a little dog-sized dinosaur called Psittacosaurus discovered in China, however, we now know far more about dinosaur buttholes than we ever wanted to.

Getting working on a Special Edition, Spielberg.

It was paleobiologist Jakob Vinther who first noticed the butthole when he was studying Psittacosaurus for normal reasons and recalled that he "got a chance to look at the specimen again, up close, and suddenly realized, 'Oh my god, the cloaca is actually quite well preserved, and we can actually see some anatomy that I didn't think we could see.'" He had perfectly scientific reasons to be excited: The preserved butthole of Psittacosaurus could tell us innumerable things about dinosaur biology and their relationship to modern animals. That said, he went on to gush that the butthole is "its own cloaca, shaped in its perfect, unique way," which you should never say about anyone's butthole, regardless of how long they've been dead.

As far as what we've actually learned from the butthole, it's a horizontal slit much like a crocodile's except it's V-shaped, meaning it could have been similar to a bird's rounder, sexier cloaca. Scientists also noted "a rounded swelling near the cloaca" similar to those seen in birds "during breeding season, where the male stores sperm" (yep, that's a dino ballsack, probably) and "two small bulges" that "might have housed musky scent glands that the reptile possibly used during courtship." They've also confirmed that this dinosaur "likely had copulatory sex, unlike some birds that bump butts when they do a 'cloacal kiss' during reproduction." Someone tell Chuck Tingle -- oh, they already have, very good.

Manna, regrettably, has a Twitter.

Top image: DariuszSankowski/Pixabay

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