The Hydrodynamics of Defecation – A Study of Beasts Pooping

Story Stream
recent articles

This half-million dollar federal grant – funded by the U.S. taxpayer – stinks.

Did you know that an African elephant can poop up to 16.3 pounds per day? If that is more than you ever wanted to know about feces, you will not appreciate the rest of the findings of an April 2017 study.

The study published in the scientific journal The Royal Society of Chemistry was titled “Hydrodynamics of Defecation” and measured the size, shape and other measurements of feces from various mammals.

It was funded with $1,490 from Georgia Tech President’s Undergraduate Research Awards, and the theory explored in the defecation research came about during other research done thanks to a $556,584 grant from the National Science Foundation. That NSF grant was cited in the study as a principal funding source of the research.

A red panda poops more than one-third of a pound every day, a lion defecates just under 1 pound daily, and a sun bear relieves itself of more than 1 pound of feces per day.

Why do we care?

The group of researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Alabama at Birmingham, which documented the bowel movements of the beasts and included four videos of the animals’ private moments, thought it was important to “understand the physics by which feces are discharged.”

The researchers investigated the dimensions of large intestines and feces and, among other things, “a mathematical model of defecation.”

They compared the diameter of feces to that of the rectum and went into detail that we will not repeat here about how feces “slide” through the large intestine to their exit.

They say this information is useful in helping clinicians use non-invasive procedures to diagnose ailments of animals’ digestive system.

NOTE: David Hu, one of the researchers from Georgia Tech, earned $139,992 in 2017 -- a six-figure income.

The NSF grant funded several studies, including the paper "Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size," that two of the researchers on the defecation study worked on.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

Show comments Hide Comments