Of all the species in the animal kingdom, only one has a consistently oddly shaped poop. This award goes to the wombat, one of the most precious marsupials around. Native to Australia, these short-legged bear look-alikes are famous for their cubic-shaped feces. But how do these perfectly sculpted nuggets come to be? Researchers decided to find out.
Every doody has a duty
Scientists are big fans of the wombat. Their specially-shaped poops do serve a purpose. They are able to mark their territory without their droppings rolling down hills. But until recently, we didn’t know how this was possible.
Dr. Patricia Yang of the Georgia Institute of Technology led the team of researchers. Yang and others collected bodies of wombats who were tragically killed by cars. The researchers then inflated and inspected the intestines. Unlike some theories suspected, the anus was not square shaped; it was completely normal.
The cutest poopers
Yang realized that the food traveling through the wombat’s intestines stayed in a very liquid state. In fact, the liquid did not harden and form a type up shape until it reached the last eight inches of the intestines. Here was where the magic happened.
As the feces formed in the last few inches, it created the intricate shape in which it is expelled. Yang suggested that this was due to the rigidity and flexion of the intestinal walls. No other species seems to digest their food in this exact manner.
Code brown finally cracked
Some may be asking why scientists took the time to even figure this phenomenon out. But there’s another interesting side effect that comes with this discovery.
The unique formation of the cube could lead to breakthroughs in manufacturing; some of our best innovations have come from observing and mimicking the wonders that can only be taught by mother nature.