Scientists build a database of animal farts

Freshwater mussels? Goats? Wombats? If you've ever wondered whether a particular animal farts or not, hie thee to the #DoesItFart database.

It's not some weird, fake meme thing, by the way; this database is maintained by actual scientists who have, like, real scientific degrees and do science stuff all day long.

What happened was that a couple of them realized that, when discussing rare animals with the public, "does it fart?" was one of the most common questions. So they started inputting their info into a Google spreadsheet, available to the curious masses.

A quick glance at the spreadsheet suggests that the answer is nearly always "yes". Only a small minority of animals seem to be non-flatulent. Blue mussels, amonite, common whelks, moonsnail -- you guys are the very model of restraint. Oh, and in the "Description/notes" field, the scientists seem to be enjoying themselves quite a lot.

The Washington Post wrote a fun story about the database last year, noting that flatulence is actually a terrific entrypoint into the complex stew of animal biology:

And if engagement is the goal — or at least a byproduct — does it really matter what the topic is? “Just because it’s flatulence doesn’t mean it’s inherently silly,” said Adriana Lowe, a researcher of biological anthropology at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. “The diets and digestive systems of animals are an important and fascinating field of study, and gas is just a part of that.”

Lowe studies chimpanzees in Uganda’s Budongo forest, animals whose gas appears to vary with their diet.

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Fart rampage forces flight to make emergency landing

A fight over a flatulent passenger ended in a Dubai-Amsterdam flight making an emergency landing in Vienna, reports Metro, citing this Dutch news story. Several passengers were kicked off, some of them claiming that they were uninvolved into the farty fracas and that Transavias's cabin crew encouraged the violence.

Members of the crew on the Dutch low-cost airline were apparently less than sympathetic and refused to do anything about it.

Despite a warning from the pilot, a fight between the men then broke out, causing the flight to be diverted to Vienna Airport .

Police boarded the plane with dogs and removed two sisters and the two men after the pilot made a report about ‘passengers on the rampage’.

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Suspect farts himself out of police investigation

Here’s a way to avoid a police investigation: fart till the officer becomes so disgusted with you that he or she has to walk away from the interrogation. It worked temporarily for a 24-year-old Kansas City man when he relieved himself of gas to the point that the detective investigating the drug and stolen gun accusations was forced to end the interview, according to The Kansas City Star.

The detective wrote in a report that Sean A. Sykes Jr. leaned on his chair and released a “loud fart” when questioned about his address. The gas continued to be released.

Sykes was pulled over by police almost a month later and officially charged. However, none of the charges stem from bioterrorism.

Via The Kansas City Star:

Sean A. Sykes Jr., is charged in U.S. District Court possession with intent to sell cocaine and being a felon in possession of three firearms, two of which were reported stolen.

In his report about the interview, the detective wrote that when asked about his address, “Mr. Sykes leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering with the address.”

“Mr. Sykes continued to be flatulent and I ended the interview,” the detective wrote.

Charges were not filed at that time.

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Patient's fart in surgery causes fire, severe burns

A patient at Tokyo Medical University Hospital was undergoing laser surgery on her uterus when she farted, apparently starting a fire that badly burnt her.

"When the patient's intestinal gas leaked into the space of the operation (room), it ignited with the irradiation of the laser, and the burning spread, eventually reaching the surgical drape and causing the fire," according to a report from the hospital.

(The Straits Times) Read the rest