Scatological studies allow one to determine a wide range of biological information about a creature, including its diet (and thus where it has been), health and diseases such as tapeworms. The word derives from the Greek σκῶρ (GEN σκατός) meaning "dung, feces"; coprology derives from the Greek κόπρος of similar meaning.
A comprehensive study of scatology was documented by John Gregory Bourke under the title Scatalogic Rites of All Nations (1891). An abbreviated version of the work (with a foreword by Sigmund Freud), was published as The Portable Scatalog in 1994.
In sexual fetishism, scatology (usually abbreviated scat) refers to coprophilia, when a person is sexually aroused by fecal matter, whether in the use of feces in various sexual acts, watching someone defecating, or simply seeing the feces. Entire subcultures in sexuality are devoted to this fetish.
In literature, "scatological" is a term to denote the literary trope of the grotesque body. It is used to describe works that make particular reference to excretion or excrement, as well as to toilet humor. A common example is John Dryden's Mac Flecknoe, a poem that employs extensive scatological imagery to ridicule Dryden's contemporary Thomas Shadwell. In German literature in particular is a wealth of scatological texts and references, which includes such books as Collofino's Non Olet. A case which has provoked an unusual amount of comment in the academic literature is Mozart's scatological humour. Smith, in his review of English literature's representations of scatology from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, notes two attitudes towards scatology. One of these emphasises the merry and the carnivalesque. This is found in Chaucer and Shakespeare. The other attitude is one of self-disgust and misanthropy. This is found in the works of the Earl of Rochester and Jonathan Swift.