Secrets in the Scat

Yes, the wombat-cubical-poo acceptance speech at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony does get a moment in the sun in the NOVA television documentary “Secrets in the Scat.” NOVA describes the episode this way: “Scott Burnett is ‘Scatman’—an Australian ecologist on the trail of the secrets of poop. By identifying and analyzing animal scat for DNA […]

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats: When, Where, How Many, Why

All the traditional (in some traditions, if not all traditions) basic questions about southern hairy-nosed wombats are addressed in a doctoral thesis: “Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats: When, Where, How Many, and Why,” Michael Swinbourne, Ph.D. thesis, University of Adelaide, School of Biological Sciences, 2019. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.)    

“Wombat research that’s not to be sniffed at”

“Wombat research that’s not to be sniffed at” is the headline on this Royal Society of Chemistry article about a new research study: The findings – published today in our aptly named journal Soft Matter – could help develop new colon cancer diagnostics. An international team of scientists have been able to replicate how a wombat produces square poo […]

Offered for scale: Child and Wombat Gear

Winners of 2019 Ig Nobel Physics Prize showed up to accept the prize, dressed as a wombat, or as pieces of wombat feces (they received the prize for researching and publishing, “How Do Wombats Make Cubed Poo?“). You might have seen them onstage dressed this way in the ceremony video. If you were wondering how […]

A better-rounded understanding of why wombat poo is cubic

Ian Sample reports, in The Guardian, a new discovery by Ig Nobel Prize winners, about wombat poo shape: Scientists unravel secret of cube-shaped wombat faeces Researchers investigate why excrement emerges in awkward-shaped blocks … “My curiosity got triggered when I realised that cubical feces exist,” said Patricia Yang pictured below], a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering […]

Wombat Crossing

Question : How do bare-nosed wombats cross roads? Answer : ‘Bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) use drainage culverts to cross roads.’ (See: Australian Mammalogy, 2013, 35 , pp. 23–29.) At least they do in this vicinity of Thunderbolt’s Way, near Nowendoc on the Northern Tableland, North-Eastern New South Wales, Australia, where researchers found that: “The estimated probability […]

Keith the Wombat

It’s time for a look at Keith the wombat. The narrator says “Keith doesn’t like to eat the way we do.” This curious statement can be taken at least two different ways. See if you can figure out which meaning was intended: (Thanks to investigator Danielle Wang for bringing this to our attention.)