Sunday Sketch: Kangaroo Farts

In the 1970s and 80s, researchers thought that kangaroos didn’t fart, or at least that they hardly emitted any methane gas. Methane is naturally created by the bacteria that lives inside an animal’s gut, helping them to digest plant materials. Early findings indicating that kangaroos emit little methane made scientists think that they had special bacteria in their gut. However, recent research suggests that kangaroos produce the same amount of methane as other animals of their size. They may still have unique aspects of their digestive system, but lack of farts is not one of them.

Sketch and fact contributed by Lea Pollack

Sources: Gaines, J. (2015, November 5). Mooooove Over, Cows! Kangaroo Farts Warm the Earth, Too. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/52698-kangaroo-farts-produce-methane.html

Vendl, C., Clauss, M., Stewart, M., Leggett, K., Hummel, J., Kreuzer, M., & Munn, A. (2015). Decreasing methane yield with increasing food intake keeps daily methane emissions constant in two foregut fermenting marsupials, the western grey kangaroo and red kangaroo. Journal of Experimental Biology, 218, 3425-3434. doi: 10.1242/jeb.128165

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