Scientists have discovered a pile of 2,200-year-old condor feces in the Andes. Here’s what he told them.

Over the past 2,200 years, Andean condors (He is a vulture), among the world’s largest known flying birds, nest—and acacia—in a cliff cave in northern Patagonia, Argentina. Now researchers are studying the huge pile of guano to learn more about the endangered species and how it has adapted to its environment over time.

To study the doughnut-shaped mound, which is approximately 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter, the researchers carved it out like a pie, removing a 10-inch (25-centimeter) deep piece of excrement. Thanks to the site’s location inside the cave, the preserved feces were well protected from wind and rain, allowing it to accumulate over thousands of years, according to a study published May 3 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B (opens in new tab).

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