Researchers have a brilliant idea about what dinosaurs resembled; they can conclude things like if they were scaly, feathered, or horned for instance. However, what they haven’t got an opportunity to find and describe in much detail are these ancient creatures’ backsides. yes, we mean buttholes.

Yet, these aren’t simple buttholes, these are cloacae, or vents, that has been pleasantly described as the “Swiss Army knife of buttholes,” by ScienceAlert. Utilized for breeding, defecating, and urinating, these vents are found in vertebrates and are genuinely multi-purposed.

Researchers from the University of Bristol figured out how to get a nearby look and describe unexpectedly what a Psittacosaurus dino’s cloaca resembled, publishing their discoveries in Current Biology on Tuesday.

Because of these researchers, we currently have a detailed description of a non-avian dinosaur’s cloaca. Despite the fact that a few animals today, for example, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and some mammals have cloacae, almost no was at this point thinking about dinosaur cloacae — as of not long ago.

“I noticed the cloaca several years ago after we had reconstructed the color patterns of this dinosaur using a remarkable fossil on display at the Senckenberg Museum in Germany which clearly preserves its skin and color patterns,” explained palaeobiologist Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol.

A close up of the dinosaur’s preserved cloacal vent. Source: Study authors/University of Bristol

So Vinther and his group chose to contrast the fossilized cloaca with modern-day ones. The group could just accumulate data about the exterior of the fossilized cloaca, as the interior was not appropriately preserved.

Dr. Diane Kelly, a specialist on vertebrate penises and copulatory systems from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, likewise dealing with the study stated, “Indeed, they are pretty non-descript. We found the vent does look different in many different groups of tetrapods, but in most cases, it doesn’t tell you much about an animal’s sex.”

Cloacae of different animals. Source: Jakob Vinther/Current Biology

Notwithstanding, the exterior of the cloaca could give fair data about what the dinosaur’s “vent” looked like, and how it was utilized. The group discovered the dino cloaca was not the same as those of living animals, however, it imparts likenesses to those of crocodilian reptiles, similar to alligators and crocodiles.

The fossilized specimen from the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History. Source: Jakob Vinthers/University of Bristol

One interesting feature the researchers noticed was the dino’s cloaca’s outer margins were highly pigmented with melanin, which means it might have been utilized as a signaling system, like to baboons today.

As Robert Nicholls, a colleague working on the study and a paleoartist, said “Knowing that at least some dinosaurs were signaling to each other gives palaeoartists exciting freedom to speculate on a whole variety of now plausible interactions during dinosaur courtship. It is a game-changer!”