Thursday , September 29 2022

Scientists solve a mystery of how wombats produce cubed poo



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It is a biological curiosity that has confused scientists fascinated by the Internet.

Now researchers believe they have solved one of the snooker mysteries of the animal kingdom: how wombats produce coboid fu.

The arrogant parts of the six varieties of manure are unique in nature. And they produce them progressively, putting between 80 and 100 cubes every night.

The unique fast of Wombats has an important role, allowing the animals to pile their stools high to mark their territory and communicate through the smell.

The sides flat pellets mean they can be placed prominently on logs and rocks without rolling, making them more likely to catch the eye of a mate.

But scientists have never known how the womats-who have rounded mantels-shape their feces into their unusual shape. Now, a team of Australian mechanical engineers and biologists believe they have removed any doubt.

Patricia Young, a postdoctoral fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology, went to investigate whether the differences between " Soft tissue structures may explain their excretions in a strange way.

"The first thing that drove me to this was that I had never seen anything strange in biology, it was a mystery," said Ms. Young, who has studied the hydrodynamics of fluids, including blood, processed food and urine in animal bodies.

She added: "I did not even believe it was true, I rummaged through it and saw a lot about a cube-shaped vumbat cube, but I was skeptical."

Researchers investigated feces taken from wombats killed in road accidents (Georgia Institute of Technology)

The researchers examined the digestive system of the wombats that was down after being hit by a road vehicle in Tasmania, Australia.

Near the end of the bowel, they found that the stool had changed from liquid to solid, made up of small, disconnected cubes. The researchers concluded that the variable, flexible properties of the intestinal walls of wombats allowed the formation of a cube.

In a man-made world, cubic structures are usually produced by injection molding or extrusion. But in nature the most rare form: wombats are the only species known to be able to produce organic cubes.

Ms. Young said that her findings could have implications for production as well as contribute to the scientific understanding of soft tissue transport.

"Right now we only have two methods for making dice: we mold them, or we cut them, now we have this third method," Ms. Young said. "It would be a cool method to apply to the production process – how to make a cube with soft tissue instead of just this pattern.

"We can understand how to transfer this material very effectively."

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Scott Carver, an Australian biologist involved in the study, added: "There is a great deal of interest from the public, both in Australia and in the world, on how and why wombats create cube-shaped feces.

"Many ideas, some more entertaining than others, have been put forward to explain this, but until this study no one has studied the cause, it was a fantastic collaboration that shows the value of interdisciplinary research to make new scientific discoveries."

The researchers will present their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Physics's Liquid Dynamics Division in Atlanta, Georgia, this week.

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