The Mystery of the Wombat’s Cube-Shaped Poop Has Been Solved

PetMD Editorial
Published: November 19, 2018
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Wombats have long been loved for their cute faces and roly-poly physique. However, there has been one mystery about wombats that has confounded scientists for quite some time. How does wombat poop get its cubed shape?

Well, that mystery has recently been solved by Georgia Institute of Technology’s Patricia Yang and her team of researchers. They shared their findings at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta this past Sunday.

According to CNN, the authors of the study report, “In the built world, cubic structures are created by extrusion or injection molding, but there are few examples of this feat in nature.” The wombat’s poop is one such example of this phenomenon happening in nature.

Researchers found that the wombat’s digestive system takes about two weeks to fully digest its food. As the food moves into the final 8 percent of the intestine, it transitions from a liquid into a solid. When this happens, the poop morphs into separate cube shapes that are about two centimeters in length.

CNN reports, “By inflating the intestine with a long balloon, the researchers found that the wombats' intestine walls stretch unevenly, allowing for the formation of the cube shapes.”

The authors believe that these findings can provide valuable insights not just for the natural world, but for new manufacturing techniques as well.

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