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Human feces are smeared all over the geological record of places people have inhabited. The chemical signature of human excrement was analyzed in sediments in a northern Norwegian lake. Starting around 2,250 years ago, the presence of people’s poo painted a picture of human population changes in the region around Lake Liland on one of the Lofoten Islands. "Without even knowing it, early settlers were recording their history for us, and in the most unlikely of ways, in their poop,” said study author Robert D’Anjou, University of Massachusetts geosciences doctoral student. “The prehistoric settlers and their livestock pooped and their feces washed into the lake, which over time left a record of trace amounts of specific molecules that are only produced in the intestines of higher mammals. When you find these molecules at certain concentrations and in specific ratios, it provides an unmistakable indicator that people were living in the area."