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Feces ( or faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the
small intestine The small intestine or small bowel is an organ (anatomy), organ in the human gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract where most of the #Absorption, absorption of nutrients from food takes place. It lies between the stomach and large intes ...

small intestine
, and has been broken down by bacteria in the
large intestine The large intestine, also known as the large bowel, is the last part of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system The human dig ...

large intestine
. Feces contains a relatively small amount of
metabolic waste Metabolic wastes or excrements are Chemical substance, substances left over from metabolism, metabolic processes (such as cellular respiration) which cannot be used by the organism (they are surplus or toxicity, toxic), and must therefore be excre ...
products such as bacterially altered
bilirubin Bilirubin (BR) is a yellow compound that occurs in the normal catabolic Catabolism () is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecule ...

bilirubin
, and dead epithelial cells from the lining of the gut. Feces is discharged through the
anus The anus (from Latin ''wikt:en:anus#Latin, anus'' meaning "ring", "circle") is an opening at the opposite end of an animal's digestive tract from the mouth. Its function is to control the expulsion of feces, the residual semi-solid waste that ...

anus
or
cloaca In animal anatomy, a cloaca (plural cloacae or ) is the posterior that serves as the only opening for the , reproductive, and s (if present) of many animals. All s, s, birds, and a few mammals (s, s, s, and s) have this orifice, from which ...
during
defecation frame, Human anatomy of the ''anorecturm'' (anus and rectum) Defecation (or defaecation) is the final act of digestion, by which organisms eliminate a solid, semisolid, or liquid waste material known as feces from the digestive tract via the a ...
. Feces can be used as
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
or
soil conditioner A soil conditioner is a product which is added to soil Soil (often stylized as SOiL) is an American rock band that was formed in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps ...
in agriculture. It can also be burned as
fuel A fuel is any material that can be made to react with other substances so that it releases energy as thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork. Thermal energy refers to several distinct physical conc ...
or dried and used for
construction Construction is a general term meaning the and to form , , or ,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009 and comes from ''constructio'' (from ''com-' ...

construction
. Some
medicinal Medicine is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what ...
uses have been found. In the case of
human feces Human feces (or faeces in ) is the solid or semisolid remains of food that could not be digested or absorbed in the of humans, but has been further broken down by bacteria in the . It also contains bacteria and a relatively small amount of prod ...

human feces
, fecal transplants or
fecal bacteriotherapy Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), also known as a stool transplant, is the process of transferring fecal bacteria and other microbes from a healthy individual into another individual. FMT is an effective treatment for Clostridioides difficile i ...
are in use.
Urine Urine is a liquid by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a production process, manufacturing process or chemical reaction; it is not the primary product or service being produced. A by-product can be useful and ...

Urine
and feces together are called
excreta Excretion is a process in which metabolic waste Metabolic wastes or excrements are substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a de ...
. Skatole is the principal compound responsible for the unpleasant smell of feces.


Characteristics

File:BearApplePoop.JPG, Bear scat File:Mixedplasticbearpoo.jpg, Bear scat showing consumption of
bin bag A bin bag, rubbish bag (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medie ...

bin bag
s File:Kasuar fg1.jpg, The
cassowary ''Casuarius'' is a genus of birds in the order Casuariiformes The Casuariiformes is an order of large flightless birds that has four surviving members: the three species of cassowary, and the only remaining species of emu. They are divided i ...

cassowary
disperses plant seeds via its feces File:Earthworm faeces.jpg,
Earthworm An earthworm is a terrestrial invertebrate that belongs to the phylum Annelida. They exhibit a tube-within-a-tube body plan A body plan, ''Bauplan'' (German plural ''Baupläne''), or ground plan is a set of morphological features common to man ...

Earthworm
feces aids in provision of minerals and plant nutrients in an accessible form File:Avföring - Fågelspillning - Ystad-2015.jpg, Feces from different
seabird Seabirds (also known as marine birds) are bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worl ...

seabird
s.
The distinctive
odor An odor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...
of feces is due to
skatole Skatole or 3-methylindole is an organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic compounds are known. The study of the properties, r ...

skatole
, and
thiol A thiol () or thiol derivative is any organosulfur compound Organosulfur compounds are organic compounds that contain sulfur. They are often associated with foul odors, but many of the sweetest compounds known are organosulfur derivatives, e.g., sa ...

thiol
s (
sulfur Sulfur (in nontechnical British English: sulphur) is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: th ...

sulfur
-containing compounds), as well as amines and carboxylic acids. Skatole is produced from
tryptophan Tryptophan (symbol Trp or W) is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Tryptophan contains an α-amino group, an α-carboxylic acid group, and a side chain indole, making it a non-polar Aromatic hydrocarbon, aromatic amino ...

tryptophan
via indoleacetic acid.
Decarboxylation Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant ...

Decarboxylation
gives skatole. The perceived bad odor of feces has been hypothesized to be a deterrent for humans, as consuming or touching it may result in sickness or infection.


Physiology

Feces is discharged through the
anus The anus (from Latin ''wikt:en:anus#Latin, anus'' meaning "ring", "circle") is an opening at the opposite end of an animal's digestive tract from the mouth. Its function is to control the expulsion of feces, the residual semi-solid waste that ...

anus
or
cloaca In animal anatomy, a cloaca (plural cloacae or ) is the posterior that serves as the only opening for the , reproductive, and s (if present) of many animals. All s, s, birds, and a few mammals (s, s, s, and s) have this orifice, from which ...
during
defecation frame, Human anatomy of the ''anorecturm'' (anus and rectum) Defecation (or defaecation) is the final act of digestion, by which organisms eliminate a solid, semisolid, or liquid waste material known as feces from the digestive tract via the a ...
. This process requires pressures that may reach (13.3 kPa) in humans and (60 kPa) in penguins. The forces required to expel the feces is generated through muscular contractions and a build-up of gases inside the gut, prompting the sphincter to relieve the pressure and to release the feces.


Ecology

After an animal has digested eaten material, the remains of that material are discharged from its body as waste. Although it is lower in energy than the food from which it is derived, feces may retain a large amount of energy, often 50% of that of the original food. This means that of all food eaten, a significant amount of energy remains for the decomposers of ecosystems. Many organisms feed on feces, from bacteria to fungi to insects such as
dung beetle Dung beetles are beetle Beetles are a group of insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, elytra, distinguishing them from mo ...

dung beetle
s, who can
sense A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli. (For example, in the human body, the brain receives signals from the senses ...
odors from long distances. Some may specialize in feces, while others may eat other foods. Feces serves not only as a basic food, but also as a supplement to the usual diet of some animals. This process is known as
coprophagia Coprophagia () or coprophagy () is the consumption of feces Feces ( faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the , and has been broken down by bacteria in the . Feces contains a relatively small amount of ...
, and occurs in various animal species such as young elephants eating the feces of their mothers to gain essential
gut flora Gut or guts may refer to: Anatomy * Abdomen, the region of the body below the thorax but above the pelvic region * Beer gut, slang for an obese stomach * Gastrointestinal tract, the system of digestive organs in humans and other animals * Hu ...
, or by other animals such as dogs, rabbits, and monkeys. Feces and urine, which reflect
ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, ...

ultraviolet
light, are important to raptors such as
kestrel The name kestrel (from french: crécerelle, derivative from , i.e. ratchet) is given to several members of the falcon genus, ''Falco''. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of ar ...

kestrel
s, who can see the
near ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that stud ...
and thus find their prey by their
midden A midden (also kitchen midden or shell heap) is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones ...
s and territorial markers.
Seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positi ...

Seed
s also may be found in feces. Animals who eat
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
are known as
frugivore A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts and seeds. Approximately 20% of mammalian herbivores eat fruit. Frugivores are highly dependent on the abundance and ...
s. An advantage for a plant in having fruit is that animals will eat the fruit and unknowingly disperse the seed in doing so. This mode of
seed dispersal Seed dispersal is the movement, spread or transport of seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The ban ...
is highly successful, as seeds dispersed around the base of a plant are unlikely to succeed and often are subject to heavy
predation Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical en ...
. Provided the seed can withstand the pathway through the digestive system, it is not only likely to be far away from the parent plant, but is even provided with its own fertilizer. Organisms that subsist on dead organic matter or ''
detritus In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...

detritus
'' are known as
detritivore Detritivores (also known as detrivores, detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters) are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces). There are many kinds of invertebrates, ...
s, and play an important role in ecosystems by recycling organic matter back into a simpler form that plants and other
autotroph An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bo ...
s may absorb once again. This cycling of matter is known as the
biogeochemical cycle In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics of interest include the bi ...
. To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces returns to the area from which they came, which is not always the case in human society where food may be transported from rural areas to urban populations and then feces disposed of into a river or sea.


Human feces

Depending on the individual and the circumstances, human beings may defecate several times a day, every day, or once every two or three days. Extensive hardening of the feces that interrupts this routine for several days or more is called
constipation Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. The stool is often hard and dry. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling as if one has not completely passed the bowel movement. Complications ...
. The appearance of human fecal matter varies according to diet and health. Normally it is semisolid, with a
mucus Mucus ( ) is a slippery aqueous secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membrane A mucous membrane or mucosa is a biological membrane, membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists o ...
coating. A combination of
bile Bile (from latin ''bilis''), or gall, is a dark-green-to-yellowish-brown fluid produced by the of most s that aids the of s in the . In humans, bile is produced continuously by the liver (liver bile) and stored and concentrated in the . After ...
and
bilirubin Bilirubin (BR) is a yellow compound that occurs in the normal catabolic Catabolism () is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecule ...

bilirubin
, which comes from dead
red blood cells Red blood cells (RBCs), also referred to as red cells, red blood corpuscles (in humans or other animals not having nucleus in red blood cells), haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes (from Greek ''erythros'' for "red" and ''kytos'' for "holl ...

red blood cells
, gives feces the typical brown color. After the
meconium Meconium is the earliest stool of a mammalian infant 222x222px, Eight-month-old sororal twin sisters An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or 'speechless') is the more formal or specialised synonym for th ...

meconium
, the first stool expelled, a newborn's feces contains only
bile Bile (from latin ''bilis''), or gall, is a dark-green-to-yellowish-brown fluid produced by the of most s that aids the of s in the . In humans, bile is produced continuously by the liver (liver bile) and stored and concentrated in the . After ...
, which gives it a yellow-green color.
Breast feeding Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the process of feeding a mother's breast milk to her infant, either directly from the breast or by expressing (pumping out) the milk from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infant. The World Health ...

Breast feeding
babies expel soft, pale yellowish, and not quite malodorous matter; but once the baby begins to eat, and the body starts expelling bilirubin from dead red blood cells, its matter acquires the familiar brown color. At different times in their life, human beings will expel feces of different colors and textures. A stool that passes rapidly through the intestines will look greenish; lack of bilirubin will make the stool look like clay.


Uses of animal feces


Fertilizer

The feces of animals, e.g.
guano Guano (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation ...

guano
and
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable.">stable.html" ;"title="feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable">feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable. ...

manure
often are used as
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
.


Energy

Dry animal dung is burned and used as a fuel source in many countries around the world. Some animal feces, especially that of
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

camel
,
bison Bison are large, even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulate Ungulates ( ) are members of the diverse clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic group or natural gro ...

bison
, and
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
, is a source of fuel when dried. Animals such as the
giant panda The giant panda (''Ailuropoda melanoleuca''; ), also known as the panda bear (or simply the panda), is a bear Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family (biology), family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivoran ...

giant panda
and
zebra Zebras (, ) (subgenus ''Hippotigris'') are African equines ''Equus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles t ...

zebra
possess gut bacteria capable of producing biofuel. The bacterium in question, , can be used to synthesize the rocket fuel
hydrazine Hydrazine is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula . It is a simple pnictogen hydride, and is a colourless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odour. Hydrazine is highly toxic unless handled in solution as, for example, hydrazine h ...

hydrazine
.


Coprolites and paleofeces

A
coprolite A coprolite (also known as a coprolith) is fossilized A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

coprolite
is
fossilized A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally 'obtained by digging') is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, Seashell, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of ...
feces and is classified as a
trace fossil A trace fossil, also ichnofossil (; from el, ἴχνος ''ikhnos'' "trace, track"), is a fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to ...
. In
paleontology Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (geology), epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes th ...
they give evidence about the diet of an animal. They were first described by
William Buckland William Buckland Doctor of Divinity, DD, Royal Society, FRS (12 March 1784 – 14 August 1856) was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster. He was also a Geology, geologist and paleontology, palaeontologist. Buckland wrote the fi ...

William Buckland
in 1829. Prior to this, they were known as "fossil fir cones" and "
bezoar A bezoar is a mass found trapped in the gastrointestinal system The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, digestive tract, digestion tract, alimentary canal) is the tract from the mouth to the anus which includes all the organs of the ...

bezoar
stones". They serve a valuable purpose in paleontology because they provide direct evidence of the predation and diet of extinct organisms. Coprolites may range in size from a few millimetres to more than 60 centimetres. Palaeofeces is ancient
human feces Human feces (or faeces in ) is the solid or semisolid remains of food that could not be digested or absorbed in the of humans, but has been further broken down by bacteria in the . It also contains bacteria and a relatively small amount of prod ...

human feces
, often found as part of
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote ...
excavations or surveys. Intact feces of ancient people may be found in caves in arid climates and in other locations with suitable preservation conditions. These are studied to determine the
diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition) In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for #Health, health or #Weight management, weight-mana ...
and
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
of the people who produced them through the analysis of seeds, small bones, and parasite eggs found inside. This feces may contain information about the person excreting the material as well as information about the material. They also may be analyzed chemically for more in-depth information on the individual who excreted them, using
lipid In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
analysis and ancient
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral gro ...

DNA
analysis. The success rate of usable DNA extraction is relatively high in paleofeces, making it more reliable than skeletal DNA retrieval. The reason this analysis is possible at all is due to the digestive system not being entirely efficient, in the sense that not everything that passes through the digestive system is destroyed. Not all of the surviving material is recognizable, but some of it is. Generally, this material is the best indicator archaeologists can use to determine ancient diets, as no other part of the archaeological record is so direct an indicator. A process that preserves feces in a way that they may be analyzed later is called the
Maillard reaction The Maillard reaction ( ; ) is a chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general ...
. This reaction creates a casing of sugar that preserves the feces from the elements. To extract and analyze the information contained within, researchers generally have to freeze the feces and grind it up into powder for analysis.


Other uses

Animal dung occasionally is used as a
cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is seldom used on its own, but rather to bind sand and gravel (constru ...
to make
adobe Adobe (; ) is a building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. ...

adobe
mudbrick A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term ''brick'' denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also use ...
huts, or even in throwing sports, especially with cow and camel dung. '''' (pronounced ), or "civet coffee", is
coffee Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted s, the seeds of from certain s in the ' genus. From the coffee fruit, the seeds are separated to produce a stable, raw product: unroasted ''green coffee''. The seeds are then , a process which transfo ...

coffee
made from that have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the
Asian palm civet The Asian palm civet (''Paradoxurus hermaphroditus'') is a viverrid native to South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''sout ...
(''Paradoxurus hermaphroditus''). Giant pandas provide fertilizer for the world's most expensive
green tea Green tea is a type of tea that is made from ''Camellia sinensis'' leaves and buds that have not undergone the same Tea processing#General, withering and oxidation process used to make oolong teas and black teas. Green tea originated in China, a ...

green tea
. In
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
,
tea Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured A cure is a completely effective treatment for a disease. Cure, or similar, may also refer to: Places * Cure (river), a river in France * Cures, Sabinum, an ...

tea
is made from the droppings of
stick insect The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida, Phasmatoptera or Spectra) are an Order (biology), order of insects whose members are variously known as stick insects, stick-bugs, walking sticks, or bug sticks. They are generally referred to as phasmato ...

stick insect
s fed on
guava Guava () is a common tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. The common guava ''Psidium guajava'' (lemon guava, apple guava) is a small tree in the myrtle family (biology), family (Myrtaceae), native to Mexico, Cent ...

guava
leaves. In northern
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
,
elephant Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three living species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...

elephant
s are used to digest coffee beans in order to make Black Ivory coffee, which is among the world's most expensive coffees.
Paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

Paper
is also made from elephant dung in the country.
Dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

Dog
feces was used in the
tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of artificial light in place of the sun **Sunless tanning, application of a stain or dye to ...
process of
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of arti ...

leather
during the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom The history of the United Kingdom began in the early eighteenth century with the Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international l ...
. Collected dog feces, known as "pure", "puer", or "pewer", was mixed with water to form a substance known as "bate", because
proteolytic Proteolysis is the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids. Uncatalysed, the hydrolysis of peptide bonds is extremely slow, taking hundreds of years. Proteolysis is typically catalysed by cellular enzymes called proteases, bu ...
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates in ...

enzyme
s in the dog feces helped to relax the fibrous structure of the hide before the final stages of tanning. Dog feces collectors were known as ''pure finders''. Elephants,
hippos Hippos ( grc, Ἵππος, , horse) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contemporary), ...

hippos
,
koala The koala or, inaccurately, koala bear (''Phascolarctos cinereus''), is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only Extant taxon, extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relative ...

koala
s and pandas are born with sterile intestines, and require bacteria obtained from eating the feces of their mothers to digest vegetation. In India,
cow dung Cow dung, also known as cow pats, cow pies or cow manure, is the waste product (faeces Feces (American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in t ...
and
cow urine Cow urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in cows. Cow urine is also used in medicine in Myanmar Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Sout ...
are major ingredients of the traditional
Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...

Hindu
drink '' Panchagavya''. Politician Shankarbhai Vegad stated that they can cure
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
. In the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, cow dung is consumed for a variety of reasons, such as curing
dysentery Dysentery () is a type of gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis, also known as infectious diarrhea and gastro, is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, digestive tract, digestion tract, aliment ...
, a belief of healing properties or as a food staple.


Terminology

Feces is the scientific terminology, while the term stool is also commonly used in medical contexts. Outside of scientific contexts, these terms are less common, with the most common layman's term being poo (or poop in North American English). The term
shit ''Shit'' is a word considered to be vulgar Vulgar is a Latin word meaning "common" or "pertaining to ordinary people." Language * Vulgar or common language, the vernacular speech of a region or a people * Language use characterised by vul ...

shit
is also in common use, although is widely considered vulgar or offensive. There are many other terms, see below.


Etymology

The word ''faeces'' is the plural of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
word '' faex'' meaning "dregs". In most English-language usage, there is no singular form, making the word a plurale tantum; out of various major dictionaries, only one enters English plurals#Plural in form but singular in construction, variation from plural agreement.


Synonyms

"Feces" is used more in biology and medicine than in other fields (reflecting science's tradition of classical Latin and New Latin) *In hunting and tracking, terms such as ''dung'', ''scat'', ''spoor'', and ''droppings'' normally are used to refer to non-human animal feces *In husbandry and farming, ''
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable.">stable.html" ;"title="feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable">feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable. ...

manure
'' is common. *''Stool'' is a common term in reference to
human feces Human feces (or faeces in ) is the solid or semisolid remains of food that could not be digested or absorbed in the of humans, but has been further broken down by bacteria in the . It also contains bacteria and a relatively small amount of prod ...

human feces
. For example, in medicine, to diagnose the presence or absence of a medical condition, a stool sample sometimes is requested for testing purposes. *The term ''bowel movement(s)'' (with each movement a defecation event) is also common in health care. There are many synonyms in informal register (sociolinguistics), registers for feces, just like there are for urine. Many are euphemismistic, colloquialism, colloquial, or both; some are profanity, profane (such as ''
shit ''Shit'' is a word considered to be vulgar Vulgar is a Latin word meaning "common" or "pertaining to ordinary people." Language * Vulgar or common language, the vernacular speech of a region or a people * Language use characterised by vul ...

shit
''), whereas most belong chiefly to baby talk, child-directed speech (such as ''poo'' or ''poop'') or to off-color humor, crude humor (such as ''crap, dump, load'' and ''turd''.).


Feces of animals

The feces of animals often has special names (some of them are slang), for example: *Non-human animals **As bulk material – dung **Individually – droppings *Cattle **Bulk material –
cow dung Cow dung, also known as cow pats, cow pies or cow manure, is the waste product (faeces Feces (American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in t ...
**Individual droppings – cow pats, meadow muffins, etc. *Deer (and formerly other quarry animals) – fewmets * Wild Carnivora, carnivores – scat *Otter – spraint *Birds (individual) – droppings (also include urine as white crystals of uric acid) *Seabirds or bats (large accumulations) –
guano Guano (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation ...

guano
*Herbivorous insects, such as caterpillars and leaf beetles – frass *
Earthworm An earthworm is a terrestrial invertebrate that belongs to the phylum Annelida. They exhibit a tube-within-a-tube body plan A body plan, ''Bauplan'' (German plural ''Baupläne''), or ground plan is a set of morphological features common to man ...

Earthworm
s, lugworms etc. – worm castings (feces extruded at ground surface) *Feces when used as
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
(usually mixed with animal bedding and urine) –
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable.">stable.html" ;"title="feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable">feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable. ...

manure
*Horses – horse manure, roadapple (before motor vehicles became common, horse droppings were a big part of the rubbish communities needed to clean off roads)


Society and culture


Feelings of disgust

In all human cultures, feces elicits varying degrees of disgust in adults. Children under two years typically have no disgust response to it, suggesting it is culturally derived. Disgust toward feces appears to be strongest in cultures where flush toilets make olfactory contact with human feces minimal. Disgust is experienced primarily in relation to the sense of taste (either perceived or imagined) and, secondarily to anything that causes a similar feeling by sense of smell, touch, or vision.


Social media

There is a Pile of Poo emoji represented in Unicode as , called ' or ''unchi-kun'' in Japan.


Jokes

Poop is the center of many jokes. This is an example of a poop joke: Q:How do you unlock the bathroom in a hurry?
A:With a doo-key.


See also

* Coprophagia * Coprophilia * Coprophilous fungi * Cow dung * Excretory system * Fecal plug * Jenkem * Manure * Metabolic waste * Night soil * Sanitation * Scatology * Whale feces * Zooplankton fecal pellets


References


External links


MedFriendly's Article on Feces
{{Authority control Feces, Animal physiology