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Mysterious Cubed-Shaped Poo Finally Understood

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Wombat faeces has baffled scientists for decades. The Australian marsupial passes cubed-shaped poo, and the only species of mammal to do so. Despite having a pretty normal shaped anus like other mammals, wombats do not pass normal shaped poo. Researchers revealed that the elasticity of their intestines help sculpt the faeces into cubes, the team compared wombat intestines to pig intestines by inserting a balloon and monitored variations of the stretching patterns. It was discovered that wombat faeces changed from liquid form into solid form in the last 25% of the intestines but the final 8% of the intestines varied in elasticity and created the cube shapes. Wombats then stack the cubes as a form of communication, mark territories and a way of attracting a mate, the higher the stack of poo the better. Scientists are now looking into applying this efficient cubing method into manufacturing processes.

 

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Charlotte Bilsby

Science Editor 2018-19

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