Science answers life’s big question: Why is wombat poo square?

Study reveals why wombat poo is square

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There are answers!

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If you’ve spent many sleepless nights thinking about why wombats defecate square shaped poo, worry no more! Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have the answers for you. 

The wombat’s cubed poo is unique to it’s species, the researchers said. More often than not this shape is achieved by cutting or moulding, we rarely see a cube produced au naturale. 

To find out why the wombat is so different, the team of scientists examined wombats that had to be euthanised after vehicle collisions in Tasmania.

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 They discovered the wombat takes two weeks to digest food and when the poo moves into the last eight per cent of the intestine it goes from a liquid state into solid matter. This is when it becomes seperated cubes measuring about two centimetres.  

How do they make that shape you ask?

It was discovered the wombats’ intestine walls stretch unevenly which forms a cube shape.

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"The local strain varies from 20% at the cube's corners to 75% at its edges," the team said. "Thus, the intestine stretches preferentially at the walls to facilitate cube formation."

It’s a busy process for the wombat as they’re known to produce between 80 and 100 cubes of poo every night and use this to mark their territory according to Australian Geographic. 

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The researchers, headed up Patricia Yang presented these findings at the Annual Meeting of American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta over the weekend. 

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