Many people choose to relieve themselves while paging an epic tome. If you sit on the toilet until your legs go numb, well, that's your business. However, a new study suggests the amount of time you spend doing your actual business shouldn't be that long.
The study, published in Soft Matter (not a joke), reports mammals poop in approximately 12 seconds on average, regardless of size. It's like the classic children's book Everybody Poops in About 12 Seconds.
The authors took a glimpse at 34 different mammals taking a dump. The animals ranged from under nine pounds to almost 9,000 pounds with both herbivores and carnivores represented.
Not only was the length of time consistent, researchers noted other similarities, as highlighted by New Scientist. "The length of faecal pieces was 5 times as long as the diameter of the rectum in each of the animals... [lead author Patricia] Yang also found that the normal, low-level pressure animals apply to push through a bowel movement is constant, and unrelated to a creature’s body mass. This means that, whether it’s a human or a mouse, the pressure used on normal excrement is the same."
Dropping soft matter in a hurry has a purpose, notes the author of the Soft Matter paper. “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,” Yang told New Scientist.
While you're probably not in danger of becoming prey while you evacuate your bowels at home, you are a mammal. You can read the first half of Infinite Jest on the toilet if you want, but that time shouldn't be spent actually pooping. “If it’s taking far longer than 12 seconds, I’d say you should go see someone about it,” Yang says. “But you can’t count the newspaper time.” If you need a hand, try these tips from Dr. Partha Nandi on how to get things work a little better down there.
h/t Science of Us
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