Some great mysteries of the world will be left unsolved in our lifetimes. But, luckily for all of us, the mystery of just how long it takes for the average mammal to poop has been bravely solved by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
A recently published study in the scientific journal (appropriately named) Soft Matter shed a new light on the mechanics of going number two. They found that all mammas take, on average, about 12 seconds to poop.
Like the poops themselves, size doesn't matter when it comes to the amount of toilet time that will be clocked. The scientists filmed elephants, pandas, warthogs, and even dogs defecating. Despite the size range of the animals, their poo pace remained constant.
The study showed that the amount of pressure mammals exuded on their innards to get their excrement outwards was consistent no matter how big or small the mammal. They also found that, despite popular belief, poop comes out more like a vacuum chute rather than like squeezing out toothpaste or, say, squeezing out soft serve ice cream.
One of the researchers, Patricia Yang, believes that of the reason for these productive poops is likely evolutionary. She explained, "The smell of body waste attracts predators, which is dangerous for animals. If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered."
They also studied the poop that comes out itself, since there's definitely a range of options that can come out of the nether regions. They found that the difference between poops that can hover at the top of the toilet bowl and those that sink deep down into the abyss have to do with the type of food consumed. Herbivores and animals with more veggies and fiber in their diet tend to excrete "floaters," while animals that eat red meat and generally heavier ingredients create "sinkers."
Finally, because information about poop can be a source of never-ending fascination, the study also found that animal size does affect the actual amount they pooped out — though not the time it takes to get it out of the body. Animals tend to eat about 8 percent of their body mass and eventually poop out about 1 percent of what they eat.
Now that you know all about what's coming out of your hindquarters (and the hindquarters of your mammal pets), you can keep a stopwatch handy to clock that average 12-second poop. If it takes longer than that, be aware there could be something going on (assuming, of course, you're not just using the time to contemplate life).