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Scientists Compile Animal Fart Spreadsheet

Flatulence research offers a revealing look at both biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions


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University of Alabama researcher Nick Caruso recently launched an open-source spreadsheet and accompanying Twitter hashtag #DoesItFart for public educational purposes about the flatulence behaviors of various animal species. While silly in nature, scientists often study the gastrointestinal activities of animal species in an effort to better understand biodiversity. “We spend a lot of time with our study organism and see some interesting or weird behaviors,” Caruso says. “This type of info, unless directly relevant to the study, may not make it into our publications and we don’t always get a chance to talk about it.” Caruso’s research was also the subject of a recent feature by popular media outlet Buzzfeed which garnered inquisitive responses from readers. As it turns out, many animals pass gas, including (but not limited to) snakes, millipedes, and bearded dragons. A secondary effect of making this research public lies in the ability to statistically compare the greenhouse gases emitted by animals included on the list—drawing public attention to the incredibly high output of methane produced by animals in agriculture, such as cows.

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