ANCIENT Egyptians worshipped poo as a symbol of immortality.
That's according to one top biology boffin, who says dung rolled by scarab beetles was celebrated as a symbol of creation 5,000 years ago.
The beefy insects lay their eggs in animal droppings and bury them, with their young later emerging from the smelly mess.
In a new paper on the history of our fascination with poo, Professor Brian J Ford argues the Egyptians saw this as a sign of new life.
He told The Sun: "The Ancient Egyptians regarded spherical animal droppings as sacred.
"The dung beetle – their scarab – which pushed along balls of dung with its hind legs symbolised the rising and setting of the sun, and the emergence of new (beetle) life gave it the key to immortality."
The scarab is a large species of dung beetle native to Egypt and appears in artwork at countless ancient sites in the country.
It features in amulets and jewellery, and even had a prominent role in Ancient Egyptian mythology.
The god Khepri, who symbolised the creation and the renewal of life, often appears with a scarab beetle for a head.
"The ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago were clearly captivated by the cycle of life, as dung beetles buried droppings from which new beetles would eventually emerge," Professor Ford, a visiting professor at the University of Leicester, writes in the latest issue of The Microscope Journal.
"Notions of dung may be repellent to us, but they once were holy in Egypt."
But the Egyptians' love of poo didn't end there.
They also used it in medicine, with dog, donkey, and gazelle dung all celebrated for their healing properties and their ability to ward off bad spirits.
Professor Ford told The Sun: "In some cases, it might have worked – the microflora found in some types of animal dung contain antibiotics.
"Carnivore droppings (like dog poo) may contain parasites and are potentially dangerous; but herbivore droppings (like horse manure) are harmless to humans and we know they are beneficial to the garden."
Perhaps most disgusting of all though, was the use of poo when romping.
The ancient Egyptians also mixed honey and crocodile dung, applied to the woman's private parts, as a contraceptive.
Professor Ford told The Sun: "Although that didn't work, I would say this: For decades I have argued for the importance of a balanced microflora in the intestines.
"One recent medical development is the administration of healthy human faeces into the intestines of people infected with Clostridium difficile.
"When the normal balanced bacterial community is restored, the invading bacteria can be controlled. So there was some scientific sense in treatments with dung in ancient times."------
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