All mammals take ~12 seconds to poop.

By Seriously Science | April 26, 2017 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/Paul Stevenson

Image: Flickr/Paul Stevenson

If the above image disturbs you, move along; this post is not for you! In this study, published this week in the journal Soft Matter (yes, seriously), scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology report their detailed studies of the pooping habits of a wide variety of mammals. Using video recordings of the fecal extrusions and measuring the resulting turds, they deduce that “Despite the length of rectum ranging from 4 to 40 cm, mammals from cats to elephants defecate within a nearly constant duration of 12 ± 7 seconds (N=23). We rationalize this surprising trend by the model, which shows that feces slide along the large intestine by a layer of mucus, similar to a sled sliding through a chute. Larger animals have not only more feces but also thicker mucus layers, which facilitate their ejection.” If you are interested in pooping, be sure to check out the Supplementary Movies — we had no idea that Panda poop is green!

Hydrodynamics of defecation.

“Animals discharge feces within a range of sizes and shapes. Such variation has long been used to track animals as well as to diagnose illnesses in both humans and animals. However, the physics by which feces are discharged remain poorly understood. In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we investigate the defecation of mammals from cats to elephants using the dimensions of large intestines and feces, videography at Zoo Atlanta, cone-on-plate rheological measurements of feces and mucus, and a mathematical model of defecation. The diameter of feces is comparable to that of the rectum, but the length is double that of the rectum, indicating that not only the rectum but also the colon is a storage facility for feces. Despite the length of rectum ranging from 4 to 40 cm, mammals from cats to elephants defecate within a nearly constant duration of 12 ± 7 seconds (N=23). We rationalize this surprising trend by the model, which shows that feces slide along the large intestine by a layer of mucus, similar to a sled sliding through a chute. Larger animals have not only more feces but also thicker mucus layers, which facilitate their ejection. Our model accounts for the shorter and longer defecation times associated with diarrhea and constipation, respectively. This study may support clinicians’ use of non-invasive procedures such as defecation time in the diagnoses of ailments of the digestive system.”

Related content:
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Accidental condom inhalation.
Scientists use dog sh*t to protect crops from hungry sheep.

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    This study is its own content.

    • Kurt S

      Just because you cant find relevance, does not mean it could not have applications to other studies important to the advancement of knowledge or procedures.

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

        Read Jorb Gromlich’s comment. I maintain my comment without apology or need for further amplification, empirical information/word.

  • Jorb Gromlich

    N=23? +/- 7 seconds for 58% variance? Meaningless.

    • John Moore

      If I can drop a deuce in under 3 seconds, it still makes me the champ. I find olive oil enema is the secret.

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