Poop comes in all shapes and sizes, from tiny pellets to rounded piles. But wombats—furry mammals that live in Australia—are the only animals known to make cube-shaped poop. Engineer Patricia Yang may have found why.
She analyzed the intestines of wombats that had died. Intestines are a tube-shaped body part where food breaks down and solid waste forms. Yang found the intestines’ walls stretch unevenly: Stiff areas follow stretchy areas. Yang thinks that as waste moves through the intestines, the tighter parts squeeze the poop, forming flat surfaces on each side. The result? Cubes of poop.
The research shows that science can be super-fun, Yang says.
“If you have a question, try to answer it!”