The mystery of why the wombat poop is square is being unraveled little by little.

The small Australian

wombat produces nearly 100 cubic poops every day. Researchers continue to struggle to answer the question of how this strangely shaped poop is created.

Intestines of non-uniform stiffness mold the corners of wombat feces --Soft Matter (RSC Publishing)

How do wombats poop cubes? Scientists get to the bottom of the mystery | Science | AAAS

How wombats poop cubes | Science News

Wonbat inhabits grasslands, shrub forests, and eucalyptus forests in Australia. Because of its nocturnal nature, Wonbat spends the day in underground burrows and moves around the ground to eat plants at night. The wombat has long been known for doing square poop, but it was not clear why and how to do it.

According to a study published by Patricia Yang and colleagues at Georgia Institute of Technology in November 2018, wombat poop is pressured and hardened in the last part of the intestine. However, while this study revealed that there were two small elastic grooves in the wombat's intestine, a mystery remained about its function.

This time, Yang et al. Dissected the carcass of a wombat and investigated the muscles and tissues of the intestine, discovering areas with different thicknesses and hardnesses. As a result of modeling the area in a 2D mathematical model and simulating how it takes shape according to the digestive rhythm, the state of intestinal peristalsis was clarified.

Other mammals have consistent intestinal peristalsis in all directions, but wombats are said to show irregular contractions. It is thought that the hard part of the intestine contracts quickly to harden the poop, and the soft part contracts slowly to form an edge, and this irregular movement and grooved tissue make the poop a cube. It has also been found that the shape of the poop changes to a cube only in the latter 8% of the wombat's intestine, which contracts two to three times as much as normal.

Dry poop can be layered on a variety of terrains, and due to the nature of wombats, who prefer to poop on high ground, 'maybe they take the shape of a cube to claim or mark territory.' It is speculated, but the details are still unknown.

The research team, which has won the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019 for its research on the wombat's square poop, claims that the results of this research are 'useful for the health management of captive wombats.' 'The squarer the poop, the healthier the wombat, but the wombat poops in captivity are often not as square as wild individuals,' said co-author of the paper, David Fu. did.

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1p_kr