Ask LH: Why Is Wombat Poop Square-Shaped?

Ask LH: Why Is Wombat Poop Square-Shaped?
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Today in things I didn’t know I needed to know, scientists have been able to explain why wombat poop is shaped like a square.

It’s a strange quirk of the natural world that our little nugget-shaped marsupials take cube-shaped dumps and until now, we haven’t really understood why.

But as Mashable has reported, researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of Tasmania have revealed in a recently-published journal precisely how wombat poop gets to be so damn neat and angular.

So, how does a wombat make a square doo-doo?

Reportedly, the poop dries out while still in the wombat colon, and because of bodily contractions (sorry guys, trying to make this as non-gross as possible), the dried out matter gets formed into a square shape.

Dr Scott Carver, a wildlife ecologist with the University of Tasmania accidentally made this discovery while examining the body of wombat. He gave a statement on the process, sharing that:

“Bare-nosed wombats are renowned for producing distinctive, cube-shaped poos. This ability to form relatively uniform, clean cut faeces is unique in the animal kingdom.”

He went on to explain that “Our research found that these cubes are formed within the last sections of the intestine – and finally proves that you really can fit a square peg through a round hole.”

Science coming through with butt jokes, I see.

In essence, the combination of dried poop and specific muscle contractions create a perfect environment for square poop. Dr Carver explained that it’s the mixture of the two that achieves the unique result:

“Cube formation can help us understand the hydration status of wombats, as their faeces can appear less cubed in wetter conditions. It also shows how intestinal stiffening can produce smooth sides as a feature of pathology.”

Better keep this one in mind the next time you’re at a trivia night. May come in handy.

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