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Skeletal dinosaur drops one. To the right, part of an immense Titanosaur turd.
Skeletal dinosaur drops one. To the right, part of an immense Titanosaur Turd.

Poozeum: Dinosaur Turds

Field review by the editors.

Williams, Arizona

"I could talk fossilized turds all day," said George Frandsen, owner of the Poozeum. That's easy to believe. George is perhaps the planet's greatest public advocate for coprolites, the fossilized feces of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

George Frandsen, a please-touch coprolite, and The Stinker.
George Frandsen, a please-touch coprolite, and The Stinker.

The Poozeum opened in May 2024, the culmination of a decade-long dream for George. "There wasn't a place for people like me who loved fossilized poo," said George, whose love, we stress, is purely platonic. "They are," he said of the turds, "time capsules of our prehistoric past. They tell all this information and they're largely ignored."

According to George, big-name natural history museums favor what he called the "sexy" parts of prehistoric animals: the skeletons and skulls. One or two coprolites might be on display, he said, "but rarely do they tell you why they're interesting or important. That never motivates anyone to be excited about how cool these fossils are."

Poozeum exhibits include Industrial Strength: fossil feces used to make bombs and fertilizer.
Poozeum exhibits include Industrial Strength: fossil feces used to make bombs and fertilizer.

George built the Poozeum to get people excited.

"It's important, especially for kids," said George, who saw his first coprolite as a teenager and said that it changed his life. "It sparked something in me. Maybe, for someone, it will spark something in them."

T. rex proudly holds his world record poop.
T. rex proudly holds his world record poop.

Visitors enter the building and are greeted by The Stinker, a sculpture commissioned by George as a tribute to Auguste Rodin's famous bronze, The Thinker. "I told them, 'I want T. rex on a toilet,'" George said, recalling his instruction to the artists. "It turned out way better than I could have ever hoped for." At the feet of the T. rex are several loose coprolites available for visitor interaction. "They can lick them," said George, although most visitors simply hold the poo -- which is, after all, just rock -- or give it a cautious sniff. "They expect it to be smelly," said George, but that's just another coprolite fallacy. Aside from The Stinker, the Poozeum is stink-free.

Adjacent displays feature a skeletal dinosaur expelling a carefully mounted poop, and the Titanic Turd, a full-size reproduction of the feces of a Titanosaur, the biggest dinosaur that ever lived. Roughly four feet across and two feet high, it is spectacular but speculative; no one has ever found such a coprolite, and probably no one ever will. Titanosaur crap, said George, would have to survive what he termed "splatter" -- falling from a considerable height. It would likely not last long enough to fossilize. "When it came out, it would just go everywhere," said George. "But I have some things that I thought were impossible, and they're here. I'll always be on the lookout."

Crocodile became a fossil with a turd still inside.
Crocodile became a fossil with a turd still inside.

George's sharp eye has amassed what is acknowledged to be the world's largest collection of fossilized feces, over 8,000 of them. Many memorable examples are showcased in the Poozeum, some so small that they have to be viewed with a magnifying glass. Others, such as a T. rex turd named Barnum, are over two feet long. "It's got this really great bend to it," said George of Barnum. "A lot of coprolites bend when they hit, especially the longer ones."

Poozeum exhibits are arranged into categories such as "Turdnados" (spiral feces) and "Fossilized Farts" (preserved in amber). Many are displayed beneath sideshow-stye banners painted by artist Toni-Lee Sangastiano. "They're visuals that tell the story of the turd," George said, "because a lot of people don't read."

The "Dino-Bite!" display, for example, features a fish fossilized in the act of eating a turd. "Gold and Rainbows" are sparkling and iridescent coprolites. "Betty Croc-ker" is the back half of a prehistoric crocodile with an undumped poo still inside it. Crocodiles, George said, are frequent coprolite contributors: their turds, packed with crushed bones, are easy to fossilize; they live near water, where their feces can quickly be buried in mud; and, as George put it, "their butts are close to the ground."

Some poo is so small it can only be seen with a magnifying glass.
Some poo is so small it can only be seen with a magnifying glass.

The Poozeum gift shop sells some unique items, including a postcard that says it's the same size as a T. rex butthole. But the Poozeum does not sell coprolites. They are scientifically valuable and rare, said George, who estimates that 95 percent of those for sale elsewhere aren't coprolites at all. "The sellers themselves probably don't know it," he said -- yet more evidence of the need for an educational sanctuary such as the Poozeum. How, we asked, can someone tell a turd from a rock? "Sphincter marks. Pinch marks," answered George, ticking off a list in his head. "Is it layered? Does it have those really neat cracks that poo has?"

George told us that his cutoff for coprolites would be about 10,000 years old. "Younger than that, they become a little cakey," he said. With such a relatively recent end point, we asked, does George have any prehistoric human coprolites? "It's possible," he answered, but fossil turds are difficult to attribute to specific species. That's another reason, George said, to hang on to all of the ones that he already has. Some future scientific breakthrough might make such an identification feasible, and then the Poozeum could find itself with another banner-worthy, star-quality turd.

Poozeum: Dinosaur Turds

Address:
109 W. Railroad Ave., Williams, AZ
Directions:
On the south side of the westbound lanes of Route 66/W. Railroad Ave., just west of N. 1st St.
Hours:
Tu-F 9-7, Sa 8-7, Su 9-7 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
928-225-8080
Admission:
Donations welcome.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Route 66 ZiplineRoute 66 Zipline, Williams, AZ - < 1 mi.
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Haunted Caboose - Canyon MotelHaunted Caboose - Canyon Motel, Williams, AZ - 1 mi.
In the region:
Pyramids of Valle, Valle, AZ - 28 mi.

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