Scientists at the University of Tasmania say they’ve finally got to the bottom of the mystery of wombat poo.
Until now no-one has understood why the poo is shaped like a cube.
The university’s Dr Scott Carver, a wildlife ecologist, found the answer whilst dissecting a dead wombat.
He discovered cubes of poo inside the animal’s intestine.
With the help of US scientists, laboratory tests and complex mathematical modelling Dr Carver discovered that the wombats’ intestines have varying muscle thickness including two stiff and two more flexible regions.
The marsupial’s faeces dry out in the large intestine and are formed into little cubes by muscle contractions.
When humans eat, food travels through the gut in a day or two, but a wombat’s digestive process takes up to four times longer.
Wombats are also better at extracting water from the intestine, and their faeces are much drier than humans, so the little cubes are tightly compacted by the time they’re passed.
“Now we understand how these cubes are formed, but there is still much to be learned about wombat behaviour to fully understand why they evolved to produce cubes in the first place,” Dr Carver said.
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