This is a biological curiosity that confuses scientists and amazes the internet.
Now researchers believe that they have solved one of the mysteries of the wildest animal kingdom: how wombats produce cube-shaped feces.
The six-sided portion of muggupial manure is unique in nature. And they produce it fertile, depositing between 80 and 100 cubes every night.
The typical disadvantages of wombat have an important function, allowing animals to accumulate high manure to mark their territory and communicate through aroma.
The flat sides of the pellet mean they can be placed clearly on logs and rocks without rolling over, making them more likely to catch the eyes of the couple.
But scientists are always not sure how wombats – which have circular anus – form their faeces into their unusual shape. Now, a team of US mechanical engineers and Australian biologists believe that they have flushed doubts.
Main study author Patricia Yang, a postdoctoral associate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, departs for investigation if the differences in wombat & # 39; Soft tissue structures might explain their strange shaped impurities.
"The first thing that drives me to this is that I have never seen anything strange in this biology. That is a mystery, "said Ms. Yang, who studies the hydrodynamics of fluids, including blood, processed foods and urine in animal bodies.
He added: "I don't even believe that was true at first. I went jogging and saw a lot of cubic wombat graves, but I was skeptical. "
The researchers studied the wombat digestive tract which had been lowered after being hit by a vehicle in Tasmania, Australia.
Near the tip of the intestine, they find that faeces change from a liquid state to a solid form consisting of separate small cubes. The researchers concluded that the various elastic properties of the wombate intestinal wall allow the formation of cubes.
In the world of man-made, cubic structures are generally produced by injection or extrusion printing. But in nature the form is very rare: wombats are the only species known to be able to produce cubes organically.
Ms Yang said the findings could have implications for manufacturing, and contribute to the scientific understanding of soft tissue transportation.
"Right now we only have two methods for producing cubes: We form them, or we cut them. Now we have this third method, "said Ms. Yang. "This would be a cool method to apply to manufacturing processes – how to make cubes with soft tissue instead of just printing them.
"We can understand how to move these items in a very efficient way."
Scott Carver, an Australian biologist involved in the study, added: "There is a lot of general interest from the public, both in Australia and internationally, about how and why wombats create cube-shaped faeces.
"Many ideas, which are more entertaining than others, have been suggested to explain this, but until this research no one has investigated the cause. This is a fantastic collaboration, which shows the value of cross-disciplinary research to make new scientific discoveries. "
The researchers will present their findings at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta, Georgia, this week.