A latest research has found the science behind the short-legged Australian marsupial wombat’s cube-shaped poop. The study conducted by a group of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovers how the intestine of wombats can poop 100 cube-shaped faeces in a day. The scientists involved in the research tested the layer of muscle and tissues in the gut and found regions with different thickness and stiffness. The researchers studied the rhythms of digestion with the help of a two dimensional mathematical model.
As per a report in the Science Mag, researchers found that the intestinal sections contract over many days. These sections pull nutrients and water out of the poop as they squeeze it. As per the finding of the team, softer intestinal regions squeeze the feces and mold it into the cubic shape. The stiffer regions contract more readily than the softer ones.
The difference between the intestines of wombats and other animals is that the wavelike peristalsis of the intestine is consistent in all directions. The irregular contractions and grooved tissues make the poop cube shaped in wombats. The study has been published in the journal Soft Matter.
As per the report, it was for the first time in 2018 that the researchers had found that the intestine of the wombats contained two grooves and the gut there was more elastic.
Patricia Yang who is the lead author of the study had previously studied how and why the poop of wombats is cubic-shaped. She had received a Ig Nobel Prize with David Lu for the discovery. The prize is satiric and is given to the researchers who have unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research.
According to David Hu, the reason why wombats have cube-shaped poop is that they climb up rocks and logs to mark their territory. Such feces are less likely to roll off from these high perches.
David believes that this information can be used by engineers in manufacturing valuable or sensitive items. He also said that those who are raising wombats in captivity can also make use of this information. As per him, wombats in captivity don’t have poop as cubic as the ones in the wild. He said that the wombats with more square poop are healthier.
Wombats are protected animals in Australia. They weigh 20 kilograms to 35 kilograms. Their teeth resemble those of rabbits and they dig extensive burrow systems. Generally, the animals live for 15 years in the wild, however in captivity, they can even live as long as 30 years.