What what
March 23, 2016 10:22 AM   Subscribe

The butthole is one of the finest innovations in the past 
540 million years of animal evolution. Why watching comb jellies poop has stunned evolutionary biologists.
posted by GuyZero (103 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not gonna lie, the first sentence of your FPP is a thing of beauty.
posted by Kitteh at 10:32 AM on March 23, 2016 [41 favorites]


You deserve some kind of award for the post title too.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2016 [74 favorites]


Fascinating! It's an interesting time in evolutionary sciences (though isn't it always?)
And now I can work " through-gut" and "exit hole" into any and all conversations!
posted by pt68 at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm proud that my hometown of St. Augustine Florida is finally getting the recognition it deserves for its many contributions to our shared understanding of all things butthole.
posted by saladin at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2016 [17 favorites]


Cool.

Speaking of butts, I am now 50 years old, and since I was a kid I have wondered why humans have to wipe their butts after they poop, but other animals mostly don't. One day a few months ago I let my dogs out into the backyard; a couple of our cats slipped through the door with them. I watched them all cheerfully trotting away from me and realized: they don't have butt cheeks! It was one of those revelations that simultaneously makes you feel like a genius for figuring it out, and like an idiot for not having figured it out sooner.

I imagine our butt musculature has something to do with walking upright.

/semi-relevant anecdote included because I felt foolish posting a single-word comment but wanted to indicate my genuine interest
posted by not that girl at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2016 [69 favorites]


Nice work on the title :)
posted by savitarka at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2016


The first comment is beautiful.

Turns out gravity is a lie.
posted by qcubed at 10:37 AM on March 23, 2016 [23 favorites]


I like that there is a thing called Ctenopolooza.
posted by Kabanos at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


Ditto, qcubed.

The first comment below the article was so axe-grindy that I had to check out the commenter's Disqus profile. It is a legitimately amazing rabbit hole of internet comments-crankdom.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2016 [34 favorites]


Seriously, I'm reading that profile and it's truly... something.
posted by qcubed at 10:40 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Turns out gravity is a lie.


Not just a lie, but a Masonic conspiracy. Like jellyfish butts.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:41 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ctenopalooza!
posted by Etrigan at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2016


Ctenopalooza!

SCHEDULE
TUESDAY MARCH 15, 2016
09:00 am Metagenomics, Slime
posted by GuyZero at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2016 [11 favorites]


“Looks like I’ve been wrong for 30 years,” said George Matsumoto, a marine bio
logist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, after he saw Browne’s talk.
Aw, man. I was really looking forward to the Great Comb Jelly Schism.
posted by Etrigan at 10:44 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I also want to say, Amy Maxmen, if you find this thread: I raise my glass to you.
posted by GuyZero at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I want to believe that Ben Bache is one of the most elaborate, consistent, and dedicated trolls in the history of the internets, because the alternative is too depressing to contemplate.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was really looking forward to the Great Comb Jelly Schism.

Me too, but hopefully they'll still be opening for the Death Cab tour this summer.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:47 AM on March 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


"... indigestible particles exit through the pores on the rear end. Browne also presented a close-up image of the pores, highlighting a ring of muscles surrounding each one. "

MultiPass!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:49 AM on March 23, 2016 [18 favorites]


If you're still interested in meditating on butt cheeks and wiping, think about the anatomical effects that a flat-footed squat has on your butt topography, and the subsequent impact that has on the relative messiness of the whole process.

I'll never give up my porcelain convenience but it's hard to deny the entire western world is doing something fundamentally wrong.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2016 [32 favorites]


Where's the video?

Not that I want to watching pooping, exactly... but...
posted by slipthought at 10:56 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mr. Encylopedia, your comment reminded me to go look at the pooping unicorn video again and wonder whether it's really worth that much money for a toilet footstool.
posted by emjaybee at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'll never give up my porcelain convenience but it's hard to deny the entire western world is doing something fundamentally wrong.

Squatty Potty fixed that for you.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Any "Hello From The Magic Tavern" fans out there? Because multiple buttholes are where it's at.
posted by jeremias at 11:07 AM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'll never give up my porcelain convenience but it's hard to deny the entire western world is doing something fundamentally wrong.

Haha, Mr. Encyclopedia said "fundament".
posted by Rangi at 11:07 AM on March 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


If you're still interested in meditating on butt cheeks and wiping...

And who isn't?

Where's the video?

Not that I want to watching pooping, exactly... but...


I am unashamedly disappointed that there was no link to video. I never knew until today how much I longed to see a comb jelly poop.
posted by not that girl at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


Okay, I'll admit it. I don't get the post title. Anyone want to make it painfully explicit to Mr. Slowbrain over here?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:11 AM on March 23, 2016


Metafilter: Scientism!
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:11 AM on March 23, 2016


Chunt and Usidore will be thrilled by this news.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:14 AM on March 23, 2016


Hopefully they'll do a follow-up study to determine whether or not comb jellies need TP for their bunghole(s).
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss: Feed the words "what what" and "butt" into any search engine and see what comes out the other end.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [17 favorites]


That song is in my head now. I will probably sing it to my dogs later tonight. Everyone in my house will be so grateful that I was re-reminded of this masterpiece.
posted by witchen at 11:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Okay, I'll admit it. I don't get the post title. Anyone want to make it painfully explicit to Mr. Slowbrain over here?

What what

Don't feel too bad that you don't remember the most disposable piece of cultural ephemera from 2007. Feel bad that I can't forget it.
posted by GuyZero at 11:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


benito.strauss: There's a song/video called What What (In The Butt). Wikipedia
posted by Four Ds at 11:15 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I watched them all cheerfully trotting away from me and realized: they don't have butt cheeks!

The tails are a factor, as well. We had a corgi whose tail had been cropped too short, and her behind would routinely get quite messy.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I knew an artist in Seattle who made... let's call them artisanal Squatty Potties. He called them "peristaltic stools." They seemed like a joke (and he presented them humorously) but he swore they were really effective. Sadly, he does not feature any on his website.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:23 AM on March 23, 2016


butts lol
posted by the webmistress at 11:24 AM on March 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


The first comment below the article was so axe-grindy that I had to check out the commenter's Disqus profile. It is a legitimately amazing rabbit hole of internet comments-crankdom.

I bet that guy's an engineer.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:34 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Dr Browne studying animals pooping haha
posted by resurrexit at 11:45 AM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I always find it entertaining that humans (and all animals with two holes) are basically walking donuts.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:45 AM on March 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


"you have anuslike pores" = adorable and wondrous when it's a marine biologist talking to her specimen, but p much the worst thing ever when you're hearing it from your dermatologist
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:46 AM on March 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


Have you heard of the splendid comb jelly
Which vomits up poop from its belly?
But then it gets classy
With multiple arsi
And makes marine boffins get yelly.
posted by Devonian at 11:47 AM on March 23, 2016 [33 favorites]


I always find it entertaining that humans (and all animals with two holes) are basically walking donuts.

The super-boring intersection of biology and topology.
posted by GuyZero at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


The first comment is beautiful.

From that comment:

... when the builders find something wrong with the blueprints, they don't just blindly follow them.

I'd love to know who that person's construction company is; they're apparently more conscientious that most of the ones I've encountered.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


The butthole was always there. It never left.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Came to make a joke about human beings devolving, but this thread is too upbeat for that.
posted by Brak at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


A correct decision: start an article about buttholes with the words 'No buts about it ...' BUT, it's a bit hard to pass as being really inventive. The post title is far smoother.

Plus, someone should write a short story beginning thusly: Perhaps if you’re an anemone or a sponge stuck to a rock ...
posted by sapagan at 11:58 AM on March 23, 2016


I wanted to come in and comment about how this thread is useless without the actual videos in question, but it pointed me to the first comment in the article, and that might be enough to redeem it.

Came to make a joke about human beings devolving, but this thread is too upbeat for that.

I also want to note that in my search for the video, I discovered that William Browne of the University of Miami in Florida is very much evidence that the human race is not devolving.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


"The first comment below the article was so axe-grindy that I had to check out the commenter's Disqus profile. It is a legitimately amazing rabbit hole of internet comments-crankdom."

Wow, you weren't kidding. That's approaching TimeCube levels of weird.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:03 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


> a bit hard to pass as being really inventive. The post title is far smoother.

Yeah, your suggestion was just a bit corny.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe we can gift Ben Bache an account? You know, for science!
posted by klanawa at 12:07 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't know if it's that great an invention in humans. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “I think of, like, the human body, and I look at what’s going on between our legs. There’s like a sewage system and entertainment complex intermingling. No engineer of any intelligence would have designed it that way.”
posted by fungible at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


No engineer of any intelligence would have designed it that way.

Yet witness Las Vegas.
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on March 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


We have an artisanal Squatty Potty. It's recycled cardboard boxes full of bags of sand and covered in attractively colored duct tape.
posted by FritoKAL at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Assholes the Pinnacle of Evolution! 2016 Presidential Race Explained.
posted by Splunge at 12:13 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dale a tu cuerpo alegria mi cloaca
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegria y cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, mi cloaca
Heeeeey mi cloaca
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


Rudimentary anii
posted by Existential Dread at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]




Anyone who has read this far down this thread might also be interested in the hydra that has to tear itself a new mouth every time it eats.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:21 PM on March 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


It's the greatest thing since sliced buttholes.
posted by dr_dank at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2016


*scrolls paper into typewriter*

*adjusts glasses and begins typing*

Dear Dr. Browne,

We understand you have not yet published your fascinating findings on comb jellies in a peer-reviewed publication.

When you do, we hope you will consider the following title:
Christ, what an asshole: Rudimentary exit hole and through gut evolution in Mnemiopsis leidyi and Pleurobrachia bachei
Sincerely,

MetaFilter
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2016 [60 favorites]


mandolin conspiracy: The Google Translate of those lyrics are equally awesome.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I watched the video for What What (in the Butt) thanks to this thread, and I'm still trying to decide whether my life is better or worse from the experience.
posted by ActionPopulated at 12:54 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Just wait until you read "Pounded in the butt by internet sensation what what in the butt" by Chuck Tingle
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:57 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am in love with this thread. Which is weird, because I hate fart jokes.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:07 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


did you also watch the unplugged version with Josh Homme

because that one really highlights the poignancy of the lyric "do you want to do it in my butt"
posted by Existential Dread at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just wait until you read "Pounded in the butt by internet sensation what what in the butt" by Chuck Tingle

People in my book club were blissfully unaware of those Chuck Tingle titles. I made sure to fix that knowledge gap at a meeting. Mayhem ensued.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:13 PM on March 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I have wondered why humans have to wipe their butts after they poop, but other animals mostly don't. One day a few months ago I let my dogs out into the backyard

Wait, you have multiple dogs and you've not noticed this behavior?

(Cats wipe too, but not with their paws.)
posted by psoas at 1:29 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


It is a legitimately amazing rabbit hole of internet comments-crankdom.

Well it's certainly some kind of hole.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:45 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Huh. I was pretty much alive in 2007 and had NO idea.
And I guess I'm happy that I'm not the only one who spent a good amount of time searching for videos of comb jellies.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2016


I wonder if having multiple ani or anus-like pores would increase throughput and if that gain in efficiency would be, um, wiped out an increase in time spent cleaning a larger area?

Also, if the relationship between hole count and wiping time isn't linear... what would be the optimum number of ani for a speedy turnaround?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anuses aren't the limiting factor, time and space to digest are. Ask a cow.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:38 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hopefully they'll do a follow-up study to determine whether or not comb jellies need TP for their bunghole(s).

It'll make an excellent addition to their portfolios.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:05 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Cats wipe too, but not with their paws.)

No, they use your face. Indirectly.
posted by klanawa at 4:09 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, this thread has reminded me of the existence of Chuck Tingle, and now all I can think about is starting a band so I can call our first album "Helicopter Man Pounds Dinosaur Billionaire Ass".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:10 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


As I got older and realized I was never gonna start that band, I decided to reserve such things for Tumblrs I was gonna start.
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anuses aren't the limiting factor, time and space to digest are. Ask a cow.

Cows got multiple anuses?!?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:30 PM on March 23, 2016


No but their single-anus throughput is fully optimized. My personal observations of cows in the Swiss alps and elsewhere indicate that the time required by 1 cow to expel 1 poop is exactly 0 seconds. It's kinda magical.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:36 PM on March 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also the probability of me stepping into an alpine cow poop while hiking approaches 100% according to the same set of observational data.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:37 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


klanawa: "(Cats wipe too, but not with their paws.)

No, they use your face. Indirectly.
"

Sometimes directly. At 5AM.
posted by octothorpe at 4:51 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Single-anus throughput is fully optimized
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:06 PM on March 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am thankful that I do not poop through my mouth. Thanks evolution!
posted by A Bad Catholic at 5:06 PM on March 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


,I want to believe that Ben Bache is Ken, the genius behind horsey surprise but he doesn't seem to have a sense of humor so I'm forced to accept that he really does think gravity is a lie.
posted by janey47 at 5:15 PM on March 23, 2016


anuslike is my new favorite adjective.

Also, I do not want to be exposed to anus.
posted by bendy at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2016


Also, if the relationship between hole count and wiping time isn't linear... what would be the optimum number of ani for a speedy turnaround?

I guess it doesn't much matter if the opening were more convex, rather than flush to the body, and for people, having butt cheeks to complicate matters. It could be called a poonis.

I can't believe I just wrote that.
posted by chimaera at 5:44 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wait, you have multiple dogs and you've not noticed this behavior?

Scooting isn't a cleaning behavior. It can be caused by the discomfort of clogged or infected anal glands, or by worms. Probably other things. But dogs don't do it routinely just for the purpose of wiping themselves clean after pooping, and dogs that are having healthy bowel movements don't routinely need post-poop cleanup.
posted by not that girl at 5:56 PM on March 23, 2016


Unless they've eaten a bunch of string or a rope. Don't ask me how I know this, or what it's like to pull string out of your dog's butt while he looks back at you with sort of a "help me" and yet wounded/insulted gaze.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:16 PM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


See, sea anemones don't have that problem. So clearly the one-hole design has its merits.
posted by GuyZero at 6:19 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to believe that Ben Bache is one of the most elaborate, consistent, and dedicated trolls in the history of the internets, because the alternative is too depressing to contemplate.

I could point you to several reddit forums that are full of people like him.

On second thought, it could be that he's writing all the posts in those forums. I'm going to entertain that thought for a bit.
posted by effbot at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


As much as I like butts, tbh I really don't care for pooping at all.
posted by mister pointy at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Holy shit this thread.
posted by euphorb at 7:09 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unless they've eaten a bunch of string or a rope. Don't ask me how I know this, or what it's like to pull string out of your dog's butt while he looks back at you with sort of a "help me" and yet wounded/insulted gaze.

I thought you won't supposed to pull, as it can cut up their intestines?

If the foreign body has managed to move to the colon, it will probably successfully pass. But, defecating a sharp object may prove painful and may even need veterinary assistance. Never pull protruding objects from your pet’s rectum. If it is still lodged inside, you can cause serious damage to the internal tissues.

-pet insurance seller's site
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:55 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


A good poop is one of life's underrated pleasures.

- sincerely, someone on so many opiates he's forgotten what pooping is like
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:21 PM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. I was pretty much alive in 2007 and had NO idea.

I’ve heard of this, but I can’t be bothered to click on something and listen to another dumb song. Until I just did for some inexplicable reason. I didn’t need to hear this song for 9 years and only know it from jackass second hand performances and for some reason I clicked on it now.

That will never happen again.
posted by bongo_x at 10:54 PM on March 23, 2016


There is a great pleasure in delivering the perfect turd. Sit down, open up, it slides out under its own steam, job's a good 'un. Twice around the pan and pointed at both ends - you're looking for a four or a five on the Bristol Stool Scale.

Once upon a time, the Guardian produced a series of (mostly very good) lavishly illustrated educational posters, which they gave away with the printed publication, on scientific and artistic themes. I did suggest the Bristol chart, but they didn't, as it were, run with it.
posted by Devonian at 3:34 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


One apparent advantage of a second hole is that animals can eat while digesting a meal, whereas creatures with one hole must finish and defecate before eating again.

Not sure why, but this makes me feel fat.
posted by nightrecordings at 3:35 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rectum? Damn near krilled 'im!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:26 AM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Relevant to this thread's interests: Sawbones podcast: Poop.

The Bristol Scale comes up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


From now on I assume all undimensioned numbers are measurement on the Bristol Scale.
posted by GuyZero at 6:12 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


you have anuslike pores" = adorable and wondrous when it's a marine biologist talking to her specimen, but p much the worst thing ever when you're hearing it from your dermatologist

Or your date :(
posted by h00py at 6:58 PM on March 24, 2016


Re: tails and pooping: As someone who has served as a volunteer sheep midwife, I can confirm the earlier point about corgi tails. Standard practice on the farm where I worked was to basically strangle off lambs' tails with too-tight rubber bands -- they fall off after a while -- because the natural length of sheeps' tails is so long that they inevitably get covered with poo, and then the sheep ends up with "fly blow," which is horrifying and basically what you'd imagine it is.

The More You Know
___======-----*
posted by gusandrews at 11:30 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


A good poop is one of life's underrated pleasures.

- sincerely, someone on so many opiates he's forgotten what pooping is like


If you're waxing nostalgic for the pleasures of pooping (1) then you are really on the wrong opiates.

[1] and I do not disagree that a good poop is very pleasant
posted by phearlez at 9:33 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Suggested musical accompaniment for this post.
posted by homunculus at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2016



If you're waxing nostalgic for the pleasures of pooping (1) then you are really on the wrong opiates.


I was on dilaudid, not exactly low octane. Constipation is a well known side effect of opiates; they sent me home with prescriptions for two different things to combat that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


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