Scientists Build an Animal Fart Database


Yeah, you read that right. What else do you need to know, really? (Washington Post)

Do we smell a citizen science project?

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V0007694ER A man looking through a magnifying glass at a picture of a m
A 17th century flatologist studies a flatulent monkey.
Engraving courtesy the Wellcome Library, London. CC-BY-4.0

Discussion Ideas

  • So, scientists have compiled a database of animal farts. What are farts?
    • Farts, also known as flatulence, describe gas generated or held in the stomach or intestines, and expelled through the anus.
    • Farting is literally passing gas: the root word of flatulence is the Latin word flatus, meaning “a blowing, breaking wind.”
    • The scientific study of farts is called flatology. Really!
    • Those who have the ability to fart at will are known as flatulists, and have been entertaining people for more than 1,500 years. (And that’s just documented. Our guess is that our pre-literate ancestral hominin brethren included flatulists.)



  • So, #DoesItFart?
    • Yes. Click through this gallery of farting animals from Photo Ark, and remember: the one who smelt it dealt it.



  • Do any animals NOT fart?
    • Yes, a lot, actually.
      • Birds don’t fart.
      • Marine invertebrates, such as clams or whelks, don’t fart. Cephalopods such as squids only fart if we count air coming out of their siphon as farting.
      • Salamanders and frogs have weak sphincters and probably don’t fart, but could.
      • Badgers apparently produce some of the most disgusting scat in the animal kingdom, but have yet to be recorded as farting. Yet. (We smell a dissertation!)



Washington Post: Scientists are building an animal fart database

Nat Geo: Citizen Science Projects

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