Do Wombats really poop square cubes?
It’s a question that’s kept Geek Slop up at night A mystic scientific anomaly with no rational explanation. Those cute little Wombats, the short-legged marsupials that are native to Australia, poop the most curious scat (i.e. feces or, ahem, turds). Despite having a normal round anus, Wombats poop square cubes!
And Wombats don’t waste their unique talent either. They poop between 80 and 100 one-inch pieces of square feces a day, about 4-8 pieces with each bowel movement. And since they only poop at night, scientists rarely witness the magnificent event. Thus, we have never quite understood how the physics of Wombat poop works.
Using math to solve the mystery of square Wombat poop
To solve the mystery, scientists dissected a dead wombat that had been hit by a car. [Editor’s note: Hit by a car? Really? Are you kidding me? Do we have to include this detail in the article?] Examining the Wombat’s intestines, they found two grooves where the intestinal material is more elastic than surrounding tissue. This differs from other animals whose intestines have a consistent thickness and elasticity throughout.
A mathematical model was created to simulate the rhythms of Wombat digestion. The model showed Wombat feces stay in the same area of the intestine longer than other animals who keep poop moving along by squeezing it toward the exit in wavelike patterns.
In a Wombat, the feces is shaped by the softer, grooved intestinal regions. After several days of contracting and squeezing water and nutrients from the feces, the poop is shaped into a square cube.
The Wombat uses poop to mark its territory and decorate its den. Scientists think the square shape keeps the scat from rolling off rocks and logs, letting the Wombat deposit its nearly one hundred square cubes of poop throughout the area to show other Wombats who’s the boss.
A carefully curated gallery of square wombat poop
Geek Slop hopes you enjoy the lovely gallery of Wombat poop in the slideshow below.