Georgia study finds mammals take 12 seconds to poop

  • Researchers say all mammals take an average of 12 seconds to relive themselves
  • And, they apply about the same amount of pressure to do so, regardless of size 
  • Mammals rely on layer of mucus to carry fecal matter through large intestine

Whether wild or domestic, hunter or hunted, 10lbs or 10,000, there’s one thing all mammals have in common – the time they take to poop.

According to a new study, all mammals take an average of 12 seconds to relieve themselves, and apply about the same amount of pressure to do so, regardless of size differences.

Researchers investigating the hydrodynamics of defecation found that mammals, from cats to elephants (and even humans), rely on a layer of mucus to carry fecal matter quickly through the large intestine ‘like a sled sliding through a chute.’

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According to a new study investigating the hydrodynamics of defecation, all mammals take an average of 12 seconds to relieve themselves, and apply about the same amount of pressure to do so, regardless of size differences

According to a new study investigating the hydrodynamics of defecation, all mammals take an average of 12 seconds to relieve themselves, and apply about the same amount of pressure to do so, regardless of size differences

WHAT THEY FOUND 

The study revealed number of consistent factors, including the ratio of fecal length to rectum diameter.

And, animals typically applied the same amount of low-level pressure to relieve themselves.

Researchers also identified a layer of mucus found in all mammals, which plays a critical role in the expulsion of waste.

On average, all mammals were found to take about 12 seconds to relieve themselves. 

The animals at the zoo were found to produce, on average, about 1 percent of their body mass in feces, compared to 8 percent they take in from food.

In the study, published to the aptly-titled journal Soft Matter, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology explain that the physics of fecal discharge remains ‘poorly understood.’

So, the team observed a range of species at Zoo Atlanta as they defecated, including elephants, pandas, and warthogs – and, a dog belonging to one of the researchers.

They also watched YouTube videos of animals defecating to compare the average time across 23 species, according to New Scientist.

This revealed a number of consistent factors, including the ratio of fecal length to rectum diameter.

And, animals typically applied the same amount of low-level pressure to relieve themselves.

The study also identified a layer of mucus found in all mammals, which plays a critical role in the expulsion of waste.

‘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),’ the authors wrote.

‘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.’

This speedy defecation time likely prevents animals from being sitting ducks to predators, the researchers explain.

‘The smell of body waste attracts predators, which is dangerous for animals,’ Patricia Yang, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta told New Scientist.

The team observed a range of species at Zoo Atlanta as they defecated, including elephants, pandas, and warthogs – and, a dog belonging to one of the researchers. This revealed a number of consistent factors 

The team observed a range of species at Zoo Atlanta as they defecated, including elephants, pandas, and warthogs – and, a dog belonging to one of the researchers. This revealed a number of consistent factors 

‘If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered.’

Along with measuring defecation time, the researchers also investigated the different ways in which diet affects fecal matter density across 34 species – revealing whether animals produce ‘floaters’ or ‘sinkers.’

Herbivores, like elephants and pandas, who eat high-fiber foods, are more likely to have lighter waste, while carnivores, such as bears or tigers, consume fur and bone, resulting in heavier stools, according to New Scientist.

Still, the animals at the zoo were found to produce, on average, about 1 percent of their body mass in feces, compared to 8 percent they take in from food.







Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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