We Finally Know Why Wombat Poo Is A Cube... Sort Of
We may finally have the answer to one of the most riveting questions ever to plague the wildlife of this great nation: why do wombats poo cubes?
Patricia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Insitute of Technology, recently went where few have dared go before... straight to the dumping grounds of our favourite fuzzy friends.
Dr Yang's research -- which honestly, sounds like a bit of a shit fight -- examines how the marsupials manage to shape their faeces into a cube shape in order to more effectively stack them, mark their territory and stop them rolling away.
These little guys actually poop out their own Lego blocks, then use them to mark their little designated roly-poly areas and also to attract mates.
More specifically though, what Dr. Yang found is actually fascinating (if you're into this sort of thing).
It turns out, that instead of what I thought, which was wombats individually shaping their poops by hand (we don't judge) -- it actually happens within the creature's digestive tract, with Yang telling Gizmodo: "the faeces gets cubical at the end of the large intestine".
Apparently, the way it works is food gets digested through the tract (standard) and then as it moves into the last part of the intestine, the organ stretches unevenly, deforming itself in a way that packs the poop into cubes (NOT STANDARD).
“Wombat intestines have periodic stiffness, meaning stiff-soft-stiff-soft, along the circumference to form cubical faeces,” Yang said.
While Dr Yang and her colleagues can't answer categorically how it happens -- their research is continuing into the exact mechanics of the process -- we're just going to imagine a Willy Wonka-esque operation in their bowels where it all gets shaped, neatly stacked and then launched out the exit pipe.
According to their research and Dr Yang's area of expertise, the way a wombat's digestive tract works could have huge implications for real-world manufacturing...
Who knows? Maybe one day wombat poop could change the world.