You may not have heard of Nick Caruso, a PhD student at the University of Alabama, but he has a very important question to ask you. It’s a conundrum that has crossed everyone’s mind at some point, but few have been brave enough to actually say it out loud. Even scientists, those at the forefront of discovery and understanding, have not been so audacious as to emit this query aloud. Namely: does it fart?
Picture any animal. Any creature you like, from the gibbon to the ant. Have you ever wondered about its gastric gases and how they are discharged out of its posterior portal? Good, because Caruso wants to know if it farts or not.
If you have any evidence for your claims, you are kindly requested to plonk them on an open (and potentially editable) spreadsheet that already contains a smorgasbord of hilariously described bottom-based factoids.
Guinea pigs, for example, are indeed farters, and produce clouds of brown mist that “stink to high heaven.” Lions fart, at least when they are sedated, and snakes of all varieties unleash their smelly fury. Orangutans “do it often and have no shame.” Although the common whelk does not fart, bobcats do, with their “squirrel-based farts” being “THE WORST”.
Male humans are a clear “loud and proud” yes, while their female counterparts are listed as yes, in bold, with the added note claiming that they “will deny that it ever actually happens.” The domestic dog is said to often take the blame from nearby humans, while the domestic cat prefers the “silent but deadly” variety of dirty protest.
Aliens are listed as a “maybe”, while unicorns are said to produce glitter-filled expulsions along with rainbow-colored soft serve ice cream. Mermaids aren’t up there yet, but we at IFLScience know full well that they are proud farters, producing soap bubbles aplenty each time.
It all began, as the most revolutionary scientific endeavors do, with a simple question. According to Gizmodo, a family member asked Daniella Rabaiotti, a PhD student at the Zooological Society of London, whether or not snakes tooted from their behinds. Not knowing the answer herself, she opened it up to academics over in the US, and one particular ecologist gave his exasperated reply.
At some point, the hashtag #DoesItFart was born. Soon afterwards, Rabaiotti hit upon the idea of creating a spreadsheet, and Caruso took on the mantle of responsibility. The rest, as they say, is history, and so far, it's been a great way for scientists to connect with the public, as per the Washington Post.
In case you were wondering, Caruso’s doctoral research appears to be related to the lives of terrestrial salamanders, not the passage of the vaporized contents of colons out into the world. I think we can all agree, though, that #DoesItFart is nevertheless an honorable cause, one that clearly deserves a PhD thesis of its own.