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Scat Man

Synopsis

When Nature Calls, Scat Man answers

Scott Burnett is Scat Man. He has a thirst for knowledge and adventure. He likes a good challenge, which can mean seeking out rare, elusive, little known animals. That is why he is part of the growing group of scientists who investigate animal excrements. The information locked inside a poo can tell more about an animal than catching and examining it. It is safer for the animal and even the scientists – as long as they wear protective gloves.

A respected Australian ecologist, Scott works on endangered species like the quoll, a small, spotted, carnivorous marsupial. He has collected and examined thousands of quoll scats and used the knowledge locked inside to make crucial decisions for the conservation of species.

Now Scott Burnett takes that insight, experience and talent further afield to crack scat mysteries and uncover bizarre stories that inform, entertain and inspire. This series is proof that the scat is truly the oracle of knowledge.

Scott has a talent for telling stories from waste. He finds clues in scats and excrement that unlock secrets about animal behaviour, health, population genetics, animal trafficking even prehistoric and ancient human history. And he connects with people who have invented ingenious ways to recycle poo – like turning it into paper and toothpaste.

A word of warning. Poo can kill. Scott seeks out new science about the toxic effects of poo on humans. For thousands of years, animal and human excrement has been used for fuel, shelter, and agriculture. Should we push aside our phobias and disgust to join them? Not before investigating the hidden dangers.

Scat Man is not just a series, it can have an online presence which exposes the user to all things scat related and will connect users to global citizen science projects which aim to make the world a better place.

Style
In the moment, immersive, real time investigation, character driven, conservation, natural history.
When Scott examines scats, he channels the scene behind the act. Like a psychic, he has flashes of insight – visualised with natural history footage – as he releases the facts trapped inside the precious poo parcels.

Content
Each episode revolves around a mystery that Scat Man sets out to solve. In the process, he must consult other experts and explore relevant side stories to get to the bottom of things.

EP01: THE CASE OF THE CUBED POO
In this episode, Scat Man investigates why Wombat excrement is shaped like dice. No other creature has the talent to create such geometric scats. But the Wombat is not the only one shaping its poo for a purpose or doing strange things with it (like making poo towers).
Scat Man opens a Pandora’s box of mind-blowing wildlife poo mysteries. Extraordinary feats of faeces practiced by animals and even plants across the globe. From a bird that shapes its poo like eggs, to a spider that disguises itself as bird excrement. How do scientists know so much about the toilet habits of animals and why is it important?

EP02: THE UNICORN’S DILEMMA
Scat Man comes face to face with a steaming pile of – endangered faeces.
There’s just over 2,500 Greater One-Horned Rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis) left in the world. Most of them are in Assam, Northern India. These rhinos are usually loners but they have their own social network, the communal dung heap (a megafauna Faecesbook?). The rhinos all poo in the one place leaving piles of precious information for other rhinos to “read.” In Kaziranga National Park, Scott tries to decipher their code.
The investigation takes a turn for the worse when Scat Man is taken to the front lines of the rhino poaching war where he witnesses the devastating consequences of the rhinos’ toilet habits.

EP03: ECHIDNA CSI
Tantalising clues have surfaced that an extinct, prehistoric creature may still exist in Australia. An expedition of ecologists has been assembled; they plan to deploy a scat detector dog to track down the elusive creature. Scat Man joins the team.
The ancient, long-beaked echidna was last recorded in Australia 10,000 years ago in images painted by aboriginal people. Today, it survives only in New Guinea where it is extremely endangered and virtually unstudied. The team will use the scats of the New Guinea echidnas to train their dogs. Many other presumed extinct or endangered animals are being traced by scat sniffing detector dogs – Scott witnesses how they are finding their targets. But can they find the long-beaked echidna?

EP04: DEEP DOO DOO
Scat Man scrutinises a strange movement – Cowpathy, the ancient science of the cow. He goes inside India’s new national programme set up to study the health benefits of cow excretions. Is this real science?
Rural Indian homes have cow dunged paved floors. And many Hindus believe drinking cow urine is good for health. Cow dung soaps, face creams, toothpaste and an undereye gel made from cow urine are all available on Amazon.
Throughout India, China and South East Asia human excrement is also used for fuel and agriculture. But poo, both human and animal, carries dangerous, sometimes deadly diseases. Scott investigates the hidden powers of poo.

EP05: EMPIRE OF POO
Scat Man journeys 3,339 metres up into the Peruvian Andes to find out how a poo-loving mite recorded the rise and fall of the Inca Empire.
Scott examines a sediment core from one of the natural reservoirs used by the Incas to water their giant herds of llama. The core contains a thousand years of Inca life recorded by the fluctuating numbers of poo-eating mites. Their presence or absence pinpoints the exact timing of the Spanish conquest, the arrival of cows and pigs and the outbreak of smallpox!
The mites are found all over the world. Scat Man asks, could the poo loving mites solve other historical cold cases? Like the disappearance of the Vikings from Greenland or the extinction of the Mammoths?

EP06: THE HUNT FOR MEGASCAT
Scat Man investigates the biggest animal poos from the deep past to the present. He finds the strange diets of past giants trapped inside fossilised excrement, and witnesses what may be the largest poo ever recorded – from the bowels of the blue whale.
The megascat makers move nutrients around the globe, from the deep sea to the forests. But most of the Earth’s large mammals started declining around 12,000 years ago. The big poos started to dry up – the nutrient cycle was broken.
Scat Man leaves behind his own little message. Our planet is in deep doo doo, but one way to fix it is to add more. Save the giant mammals, the whales, the rhinos and the Eelephants, the more poo the merrier, because sh*t really does make the world go round!