[PW] Wombats' Cubic Poop.

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Tue Nov 20 07:37:19 PST 2018


This reminds me of this classic from the _Athenian Mercury_ (1691-97), the
very
first Q & A communications channel (in English, at least):

Q: Why a horse with a round fundament emits a square excrement?

A: The cells of the Colon form the feces into oblong cakes, and protrude
them into the rectum, from whence they are exonerated by sphincter ani,
which does not form them in the extrusion, the orifice being big enough to
exonerate several of them at once. They are formed quadrangularly in the
rectum, by protension and compression upon one another, as any other round
or oblong substances which are soft would be, if they were thrust together.
But yet some of them are not square on all sides, from this reason, they
being discharged several of them at once, through a round fundament, the
whole lump is round, the extremity and outward parts of it receiving their
form agreeable to the thing forming, when at the same time the middle parts
must needs be square, from the reason above. A Wide purse will admit
several sorts of coin at the same time.

On Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 10:29 AM brian whatcott <betwys1 at sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

> "Sculpting the poop into cuboid nuggets appears to be a finishing touch
> for the wombat digestive tract. Over a typical 30-meter-long wombat
> intestine, the poops take on distinct edges only in the last meter or
> so, Hu says. Up to that point, the waste is gradually solidifying as it
> moves through the gut.
>
> The finished turds are especially dry and fibrous, which may help them
> retain their signature shape when they’re squeezed out, Yang suggests.
> They can be stacked or rolled like dice, standing up on any of their
> faces. (She knows. She tried it.)
>
> In the wild, wombats deposit their droppings on top of rocks or logs as
> territory markers, sometimes forming small piles. They seem to prefer to
> poop in elevated spots, Hu says, but they’re also limited by their
> stubby legs.
>
> To confirm that the elasticity variation really does form the cubes,
> Yang and Hu are now trying to model the wombat digestive tract using
> pantyhose."
>
> https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-wombats-poop-cubes?tgt=nr
>
>
> All the News worth sharing - from Brian W
>
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