Somehow, wombats produce near to cube-shaped droppings, which has baffled biologists for years. Now, we finally know how these cute little wombats can produce these dice-like poops!
The reason why wombats produce cubic poops
Biologists have been intrigued by wombats' distinctive droppings. The shape was thought to help wombats mark their territory by allowing them to produce tall piles without them falling down the hillsides of their habitat. However, this is not proven.
Dr Patricia Yang (researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology) specialises in bodily fluids. This year, she started to look into the topic more closely after hearing about it at a conference. She had never seen anything like this before in biology and remained skeptical on the subject.
How do wombats produce cubic poops?
There were many theories as to how wombats manage to produce little cubic poops. But a concrete answer has never been found...until now.
Dr Patricia Yang obtained digestive systems of wombats tragically killed by cars and inflated their intestines. She found that the digested wombat food comes down the gut in a semi-liquid state, solidifying in the latter section of the intestine. The pressure from the uniquely formed intestine sculpts the faeces into a cube shape.
She compared the wombat's digestive system to a pig's, and discovered that the pig's intestine had a relatively uniform elasticity, which would explain the animal’s rounder poo. However, the wombat intestines had a much more irregular shape.
Dr Yang still thinks that there are a number of questions still left to answer and the research is still ongoing. She explains that us humans only have two ways of manufacturing cubes - moulding them from soft materials, or cutting them from harder objects. Wombats have a third way!
Did you know that wombats produce cube shaped poops?