Aussie Research About Cubed Wombat Poo Just Won A Nobel Prize (Kind Of)
A team of Australian scientists who delivered some long-awaited clarity into why our native wombats poop in cubes, has been honoured with a tongue-in-cheek version of the Nobel Prize.
The study led by a group of scientists from the University of Tasmania together with a Georgia Tech professor found that a wombat's cubed poop was formed in their "extraordinarily long" intestines.
Wombat intestines were found to be a staggering 10 metres long, that's a whole three metres longer than human intestines.
While their research doesn't answer exactly how poo formed itself into a cube within the intestine, it did dismiss earlier theories that the cubed shape was formed at -- to put it somewhat discreetly -- the exit point.
It's now also won them a satirical Ig Nobel Prize -- an annual award from Improbable Research which honours research that "makes people laugh and then think".
“It is a genuine honour to have our research recognised through this award, and of course, a lot of fun," one of the researchers Dr Scott Carver said.
Jokes aside, Carver said their research partially explains why wombat scat is dry.
"Human colons are not that long; we don't pull as much water from faeces," Carver said.
And if that's not a fun fact enough for you, the study also found that a wombat's intestine is not completely flexible.
Some parts are rigid while others are soft, leading the researchers to believe that may very well be what's behind the cubed poop conspiracy.
Their research also examined 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.
The Ig Nobel Prize -- which has been handed out to 10 research teams every year since it was first established in 1991 -- sees approximately 9000 nominations every year.
Among the other winners this year was a study which found pizza might protect against illness and death, but only if its made and eaten in Italy and a Japenese study which estimated the total saliva volume produced every day by five-year-olds.
READ MORE: Poolitics: What Does Your Poo Say About You?
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