FECES or FAECES (British and Latin) are the solid or semisolid
metabolic waste from an animal 's digestive tract , discharged through
the anus or cloaca during a process called defecation .
Collected feces has various uses, namely as fertilizer or soil conditioner in agriculture, as a fuel source , construction material , or for medicinal purposes (fecal transplants or fecal bacteriotherapy , in the case of human feces ).
* 1 Ecology
* 2 Characteristics
* 5 Uses of animal feces
* 6 Terminology
* 6.1 Etymology * 6.2 Synonyms
* 7 Society and culture
* 7.1 Feelings of disgust
* 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
The cassowary disperses plant seeds via its feces
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 beetles , who can sense
odors from long distances. Some may specialize in feces, while others
may eat other foods as well.
Seeds also may be found in feces. Animals who eat fruit are known as frugivores . 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 is highly successful, as seeds dispersed around the base of a plant are unlikely to succeed and often are subject to heavy predation . 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 are known as detritivores , and play an important role in ecosystems by recycling organic matter back into a simpler form that plants and other autotrophs may absorb once again. This cycling of matter is known as the biogeochemical cycle . To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces return 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.
Fresh bear scat showing a diet of apples Bear scat showing consumption of bin bags in garbage
The distinctive odor of feces is due to bacterial action. Gut flora produce compounds such as indole , skatole , and thiols (sulfur -containing compounds), as well as the inorganic gas hydrogen sulfide . These are the same compounds that are responsible for the odor of flatulence . Consumption of foods prepared with spices may result in the spices being undigested and adding to the odor of feces.
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.
In humans and depending on the individual and the circumstances, defecation may occur daily, or once every two or three days to several times a day. Extensive hardening of the feces may cause prolonged interruption in the routine and is called constipation .
In newborn babies, initially fecal matter is yellow-green after the meconium . This coloration comes from the presence of bile alone. In time, as the body starts expelling bilirubin from dead red blood cells, it acquires its familiar brown appearance, unless the baby is breast feeding , in which case it remains soft, pale yellowish, and not completely malodorous, until the baby begins to eat significant amounts of other food.
Throughout the life of an ordinary human, one may experience many types of feces. A "green" stool is from rapid transit of feces through the intestines (or the consumption of certain blue or green food dyes in quantity), and "clay-like" appearance to the feces is the result of a lack of bilirubin .
Sign ordering owners to clean up after pets,
Pets can be trained to use litter boxes or wait to be allowed outside to defecate . Training can be done in several ways, especially dependent on species. An example is crate training for dogs. Several companies market cleaning products for pet owners whose pets have soiled carpets in the home.
USES OF ANIMAL FECES
The feces of animals often are used as fertilizer ; see guano and manure .
Dry animal dung is used as a fuel source in many countries around the world by burning it. Some animal feces, especially those of camel , bison , and cattle , are used as fuel when dried .
Animals such as the giant panda and zebra possess gut bacteria capable of producing biofuel. The bacteria, Brocadia anammoxidans , can create the rocket fuel hydrazine from feces.
COPROLITES AND PALEOFECES
A coprolite is fossilized feces and is classified as a trace fossil .
In paleontology they give evidence about the diet of an animal. They
were first described by
Paleofeces are ancient human feces , often found as part of
archaeological 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 and health of the people who produced them through the analysis
of seeds, small bones, and parasite eggs found inside. These 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 analysis and ancient
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
Pet waste station at government building
Dog feces were used in the tanning process of leather during the Victorian era. Collected dog feces, known as "pure", "puer", or "pewer", were mixed with water to form a substance known as "bate." Enzymes in the dog feces helped to relax the fibrous structure of the hide before the final stages of tanning.
Cyclosia papilionaris consuming bird droppings
The word faeces is the plural of the
Further information: Shit
* 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 is common. * Stool is a common term in reference to 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 .
As with urine, there are many synonyms in informal registers for
feces. Many are euphemismistic , colloquial , or both; some are
profane (such as shit ), whereas most belong chiefly to child-directed
speech (such as poo or poop) or to crude humor (such as deuce or
turd). It is also represented in emoji form in the Miscellaneous
Symbols and Pictographs block of
The feces of animals often have special names, for example:
* Non-human animals
* As bulk material – dung * Individually – droppings
* Bulk material – cow dung * Individual droppings – cow pats, meadow muffins, etc.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
FEELINGS OF DISGUST
In all human cultures, feces elicit varying degrees of disgust , a
basic human emotion.
* Biology portal
* ^ Biology (4th edition) N.A.Campbell (Benjamin Cummings NY, 1996)
* ^ Heinrich B, Bartholomew GA (1979). "The ecology of the African
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