Why is wombat poop cube-shaped?

Wombats are the only animals in the world that produce cube-shaped scat. But why—and how—do they do it? Scientists now have an idea why.

Wombats are a burrowing animal native to Australia perhaps best-known for being, well, pudgy—and quite cute. But there’s something you might not know about these adorable marsupials: Wombats are the only animals in the world that produce cube-shaped poop.

While this peculiarity has sparked much interest and debate, actual research into the intricacies of wombat scat has been scant. That’s left scientists largely in the dark about the phenomenon – until recently.

Earlier this year, Patricia Yang, a researcher at the George Institute of Technology who specializes in bodily fluids, started to look into the topic more closely after hearing about it at a conference.

“I didn’t really believe it,” Yang says. But after confirming that it is, indeed, a fact, she began trying to figure out why, and how, wombats poop in cubes.

“People have had all sorts of theories,” says Mike Swinbourne, a wombat expert at the University of Adelaide in Australia. One popular postulate is that wombats make cubes so that they can stack them to mark their territory, without the pieces rolling away. But Swinbourne says that’s a misconception.

While wombats do use their scat to mark territory, “it’s not like they’re trying to build little brick pyramids,” he says. “They just poop where they poop.”

For more , read the full article at National Geographic .

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