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Why do wombats do cube-shaped poos?

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The rules of geometry apply in intestines and maths textbooks alike.

Asked by: Aleyna Adamson, Wigan


Wombats are herbivores that are specialised to eat tough roots and grasses. They have an extremely slow digestion that takes up to 14 days to complete. Sitting in the tightly-packed stack of intestines for so long, the faeces form a roughly cuboid shape because it tessellates better into the available space. By the time they exit, the droppings are so dry and hard that the circular anus isn’t strong enough to squeeze them into a rounded shape.

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Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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