When Patricia Yang first saw a picture of the wombat's faeces, she thought it was a fake.
Australian marsupials are the only known animals in the world that produce a cubic form of the stern.
“I studied feces for two or three years, and I know most of the categories,” said Yang, a mechanical engineer from Georgia, a specialist in physical fluids, said How does this happen host Carol Off.
“We have watery feces, cylindrical feces, as usual people, and pellets … in some small animals and rodents. [are] really, truly unique. ”
Therefore, she did what any inquisitive scientist could do – she thought about the answers.
She learned that some biologists theorize that wombats use feces to mark their territory, and the square shape makes the stern less likely to roll back.
Moreover, the dry climate helps the faeces retain their edges.
But Yang said that the lack of information about how their bodies actually produce feces in a form that is rarely observed in nature.
“I was skeptical of all the resources I could find on the Internet, so I decided that I needed something real,” she said. “So I turned to a wombat expert in Tasmania.”
He sent her some feces of sparrows filled with feces from his personal collection of frozen road signs, and she and her colleagues began to study how they work.
They sprained their intestines with a balloon to examine their elasticity, and did the same with the pig's intestines for comparison.
While the pig intestines had a uniform elasticity, the wombat had “periodic stiffness,” she said, or hardened furrows that help turn feces into a cubic shape.
As the feces move through the intestines, Ian said, it begins to form into more evenly shaped pieces with sharper edges.
The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta.
Yang said that she believes that research can have implications for production, where cube shapes are usually achieved by molding or carving.
"This method can inspire us in what is a simpler way or a cheaper way and in a portable way [cubes]," she said.
"We learn from wombats."
Written by Shayna Goodyear. Produced by Kate Suger.