While we tend to think of excrement as extremely gross and want to get it as far away from us as possible, nature has a different way of dealing with doo doo.
In a closed ecosystem,nothing goes to waste. Not even waste.
For some animals it’s normal and healthy to eat their own poop, which is called coprophagy.
Mice and capybaras eat their own waste to get some nutrient that passed through their body once that have missed for the first time.
And farmers know the importance of waste in raising their crops.
but feces aren’t just for fertilizing.
According to some research millions of tons of dung enters Africa’s aquatic ecosystems every year.
Some researchers think high concentrations of excrement leads to fish die offs.
But new research suggests it might be good for the fish!
A recent study published in the journal Ecosphere found that hippo poop feeds river fish.
Researchers from the UC Santa Barbara used chemical markers to follow the trail from beneath the hippos tail to the tissue of fish in the river.
The research showed that the fish were getting important nutrients from the poo.
This was especially true when water levels were low.
Then the hippo poo was more concentrated and the fish could make better use of the nutrients.
The research confirms that hippos can have a huge impact on the ecosystem.
Some scat helps to spread seeds. Lots of birds eat seeds then drop them off in some distant wood.
This helps spread the species further than it normally would.
One study published in the journal Ecology Letters found that passing through the gut of a sky bird changes the seeds for the better.
A small tropical bird, Elaenias, feeds on the seeds of a wild chili pepper plant.
After going through the bowels of the bird, the seeds chances of survival increase 370 percent!
The researchers found that being eaten and then passed made the seed less aromatic and appealing to seed-eating ants and it removed some of the harmful pathogens that could kill the seed.
Fish feces even builds beaches! You know how beautiful those pristine white beaches in Hawaii are?
Yeah. That’s fish poop. Seriously. Parrot fish, so named because they have sharp,beak-like teeth, naw off algae that grows on corals. Along with the algae, the fish gets a mouthful of the coral’s calcium carbonate, which it expels as waste.
Some estimates say that a single parrot fish can poop out 800 pounds of sand a year!
That’ll be fun to think about on your next vacation.
And don’t think humans are immune to this.
I mean we love our fertilizer.
Cat poop coffee exists.
In the Sumatran Jungle lives a small-cat like critter called the civet.
This cat loves coffee berries, but its gut doesn’t digest the bean.
Tthe cat passes the bean, its anal glands release a musky scent onto the bean.
And this makes for apparently good, well.. at least expensive coffee.
It can cost as much as 600 bucks a pound!
I… I uh.. I think I’ll stick to my cup of Earl Grey.
Speaking of all the good things poop can do, human fecal transplants can save lives!
Get the scoop on this miracle cure from our sister show Seeker Stories.
Check out that video here.
Many people with Ryan's condition have turned to an unique procedure known as a fecal transplant which involves taking poops form healthy donner and insert it into a patient's colon to recolonize good bacteria into their system.
What do you think about all the great things doo doo can do?
Would you drink a cup of crappy coffee in the morning?