Poop and Food: Always Funny

We have a bizarre half-day extended-period schedule this week due to parent/teacher conferences (otherwise known as an insane waste of precious instructional time) and so I had to eat a snack during my Philosophy class to avoid being hangry; I took out my food while my students were watching the super-philosophical (and highly recommended) Erroll Morris documentary Fast Cheap and Out of Control . . . and just as I was about to pop a miniature cucumber smeared with Laughing Cow cheese into my mouth, Ray Mendez-- the naked mole rat specialist-- started graphically describing naked-mole rat bathroom habits, and every time I tried to take a bite, he said something disgusting and absurd-- and I was at my desk right next to the giant projection of the film while I was trying to eat my snack amidst this cascade of scatological imagery, and the students found it very funny; here is the transcript of what he says, and I should note that he says it with good-humored passion and fervor, he really loves these creatures:

They roll in their own feces: it's a way of making everybody smell the same. So it could be the subtle differences in the aroma that you carry around is enough to set you off against an enemy.

They don't urinate on each other. They urinate in the midden pile where all the feces are placed, and the individuals go there and roll in them. You'll see them kicking and rolling and shoving around in it and then turning around and going back into the nest system. They very rarely just go to the bathroom, turn around and leave.

When the young are weaned, they will literally beg for fecal matter so that they can eat it.

It's different than the hard pellets that you see the adults depositing when they're going to the bathroom; this stuff is much more undigested material.

Interesting concept to say: "Well, now I'm going to go to the bathroom, but I'm only going to expel partially digested food, so that some of the whole bacteria and protozoa that is in the fecal material, can be passed on as food."

[There's] a lot more Zen bowel movement going on than what you would normally imagine an animal having.


zman said...

I'm glad that humans simply eat yogurt to get their probiotics. Making two different kinds of poop seems like a lot of effort, especially if it's just to get your kids' intestines properly populated.

Dave said...

properly poopulated?

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