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Nature & Environment

Why do wombats have cube-shaped droppings?

By T.K. Randall
November 19, 2018 · Comment icon 9 comments

Wombat poop is quite unlike that of any other animal. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 slgckgc
Scientists have been unravelling what might just be one of the most perplexing mysteries of the natural world.
Native to Australia, wombats are four-legged marsupials that have somehow evolved the peculiar ability to produce cube-shaped droppings

This unique shape offers a distinct advantage because the animals use it to mark their territory and cubes are easier to stack. The larger the pile, the greater the claim on the territory.

Exactly how wombats manage to produce up to 100 of these unusually-shaped blocks of excrement every day however has long remained something of a mystery.

Now though, a new study in to the phenomenon has finally yielded the answer and it is all to do with the elasticity of the animals' intestines.
"The first thing that drove me to this is that I have never seen anything this weird in biology," said Patricia Yang of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

By analyzing the internal anatomy of wombats, Yang and colleagues were able to identify how their intestines are able to sculpt the droppings in to their distinct shape.

The researchers hope that a similar technique could be used to produce cube shapes in industrial applications as well.

"We currently have only two methods to manufacture cubes: We mould it, or we cut it. Now we have this third method," she said. "It would be a cool method to apply to the manufacturing process."

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
This proves that it is crazy groovy cool to be square ... far out wombat ... ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by Carlos Allende 5 years ago
"We currently have only two methods to manufacture cubes: We mould it, or we cut it. Now we have this third method," she said. "It would be a cool method to apply to the manufacturing process." My production line is going to have a huge wombat hanging above it ala the Queen Alien?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Silver Surfer 5 years ago
Oddly enough.. I Just left Tasmania after being at Natureworld wildlife sactuary. Apparently wombats communicate territorially with their cube poo. It comes out perfectly square so it will not roll away... At least that's what they said. Evolution ehhhh!? Now the Tasmanian Devil... That's an interesting on as well... Then there's the echidna.. it's survived since T-rex times. Crazy Aussie critters!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
LOL, that's the meaning of **itting bricks !
Comment icon #5 Posted by lightly 5 years ago
I think I'll stick with round.
Comment icon #6 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
Wombat poop? Really!?  Apart from some "scientists", who really gives a s ** t!?
Comment icon #7 Posted by joc 5 years ago
Oh right...you say that now!  Just wait until they discover that Wombat Poop is the cure for the common cold.
Comment icon #8 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
Thats sort of what i was looking for when i came into this thread, cure for the common cold, prevention against all viruses, a reverse effect on climate change, anything of value would have done. Flat Earthers will use this as proof the Earth is not round just because the poop does not roll.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 5 years ago
It's square because wombats are all that is still pure and unsullied in this world. They are magical creatures that you should wear boots around because they will bite your ankles.


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