Butts come in all shapes and sizes, but that’s not the half of them.
In fact, the world of butts and anuses might surprise you. Ass seriouslya documentary of The nature of thingsexplores this topic in revealing ways, including where butts come from, why we have them, and the amazing things they can do.
Humans have the biggest butts
Most animals have a rear part for expelling waste, and these rear parts take many different shapes. There are beetles with explosive butts, marine worms that can produce hundreds of cigarette butts, as well as sponges and anemones, whose cigarette butts also double as mouths (fun!). But when it comes to the classic “tramp”, an animal stands Above the rest.
Humans have meaty butts, and it’s because we stand up. We need the power of the gluteal muscles to stand, run and jump.
So remember to thank your buttocks: without them, you wouldn’t be able to walk at all!
The transitional anus: a rear end on demand
As humans, we are at the mercy of our anuses (when nature calls). But for some invertebrates, they are the ones in control.
Most of the time, the warty comb jelly – A cannibal, a transparent blob native to the Atlantic coasts of North and South America – has no anus to speak of. (It’s not actually a jellyfish, but a ctenophore, a non-stinging invertebrate that uses floating cilia to move around in the ocean.)
And when it needs to expel waste, it summons an anus to do so. This is called a transient anus, and this jelly is the only known animal to possess one.
When he needs to leave, his intestine fuses with his epidermis and creates an opening that disappears once he has finished defecating. Adults do this about once an hour. It’s thought this anatomical oddity could be an intermediate form of the anus and hold clues to how ours evolved.
The wonderful world of inverted buttocks
If you think you’ve seen bums of all shapes and sizes, think again.
The backs we know and love are just the tip of the iceberg in a vast and varied sea of backs.
Many researchers are turning to invertebrates like worms, slugs, and insects to better understand why and how anuses evolved, and they’ve discovered some impressive (and frightening) examples.
Dragonfly larvae engage their own jet propulsion, using their buttocks to propel themselves through the water.
Beaded lacewing larvae can clean a room (literally) by paralyzing nearby termites with a highly toxic fart and eating them.
Honeypot ants can store food behind their backs and then distribute this nectar from their swollen abdomens (by vomiting) to hungry members of the colony.
But bombardier beetles are perhaps the most impressive. Many of these beetles hide a secret weapon in their butts: the ability to shoot a boiling mixture of irritating chemicals out of their butts to escape predators.
“It’s a target for attack,” said Ainsley Seago, associate curator of invertebrate zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. “It’s a chemical explosion.”
A bombardier beetle stores two chemicals – hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone – in separate sacs in its abdomen. When threatened, it quickly releases the chemicals, which mix and spurt from its butt at temperatures of up to 100°C.
“There’s a powerful exothermic reaction,” Seago said. “It’s an explosive blast – they can aim it in any direction 360 degrees around them… like a deadly sprinkler.”
Butts you can breathe with
During the winter months, some turtles may hibernate underwater for months.
As lakes and ponds freeze, painted turtles retreat under the ice and slow their metabolism. But since they are air-breathing reptiles, that raises the issue of getting enough oxygen while they’re submerged for months.
Butts to the rescue!
Hibernating turtles don’t need much oxygen, but in a process called cloacal respiration, the blood vessels around their multipurpose opening absorb all the oxygen they need from the water around them.
This ability is observed in other animals, such as certain fish, and has inspired research into whether humans can also do it.
You read correctly. Researchers want to find new ways to make breathing easier for people in respiratory distress or looking for an advantage. Studying mice and pigs, Dr. Takanori Takebe discovered that they could survive in normally lethal low-oxygen conditions when a highly oxygenated liquid was injected into their intestines.
Human trials will follow, and breathing through the buttocks is attracting interest from athletes, astronauts and pilots, who could benefit from improving their oxygen consumption or their ability to survive in low-energy conditions. oxygen content.
Of course, this can cause side effects and work more like a targeted therapy. Breathing through our intestines, if safe, would only be short-lived and could cause digestive complications, as the oxygen would likely kill gut microbes.