How wombats make cubed poop

  • How wombats make cubed poop

How wombats make cubed poop

The wombat, native to Australia, produces about 80 to 100 cubes of poop each night. Patricia Yang, a mechanical engineering fellow at Georgia Tech, decided she needed to get to the bottom of why wombats expel poop cubes-the only known species to do this organically-and so she and her team set out to study the Australian marsupial's digestive system to try to solve the mystery, Phys.org reports.

Yang studies how fluids, including blood, processed food, and urine, move about inside the bodies of animals - so she was ideal for the task. She was curious how the differences in wombats' digestive processes and soft tissue structures might explain their oddly shaped scat. These grooves could form the poop into a solid cube just before it exits the wombat, the scientists reported over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta.

"It's really the first time I've ever seen anybody come up with a good biological, physiological explanation", said Swinbourne, who reviewed the draft. "That was a mystery", said Yang in a statement.

'I didn't even believe it was true at the beginning.

Of all the poops in the world, only wombats' are shaped like cubes.

Scientists studied digestive tracts of wombats that had been euthanized following motor vehicle crashes in Tasmania, Australia.

"By emptying the intestine and inflating it with a long balloon, we found that the local strain varies from 20 percent at the cube's corners to 75 percent at its edges".

Ученые разгадали тайну вомбатов

Cubes, Yang says, are very rare in nature.

A team of courageous scientists have been wondering why wombats, chubby yet cute Australian-native marsupials, produce cube-shaped poop.

Ms Yang said: "We now have only two methods to manufacture cubes: We mould them, or we cut them". Now we have this third method.

What they found was that wombat poo solidifies in the last bit of their bums - and that the intestines "give" in specific areas which extrudes the poo in cubic form.

In general, wombats use their poo to mark their territory like many other animals. The shape helps it stop rolling away.

Yang hopes that the group's research on wombats will contribute to current understandings of soft tissue transportation, or how the gut moves. As she said in a statement, their research included a lot of mechanical engineering and biology, meaning that the study is equally important in both scientific fields.

"We can learn from wombats and hopefully apply this novel method to our manufacturing process", said Yang. As the poo moves through the wombat, the differing pressure of the intestines squeezes it into the cube shape, like a Play-Doh Fun Factory.