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Old 05-23-2006, 10:27 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Why do humans need toilet paper?

An animal takes a dump and it goes on with its business, no problem. If a human takes a dump and doesn't use toilet paper there is a mess, stink, and usually a chance of a rash developng in the anal area.

The Muslims don't allow people to eat from the common bowl with their right hand because they use their left hand to wipe themselves. Humans have adapted various forms of wiping material like corn cobs and the Sears catalog.

Why do animals get away without having to attend to the problem while humans are burdened?
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:36 PM
happywaffle happywaffle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartydog
An animal takes a dump and it goes on with its business, no problem. If a human takes a dump and doesn't use toilet paper there is a mess, stink, and usually a chance of a rash developng in the anal area.

The Muslims don't allow people to eat from the common bowl with their right hand because they use their left hand to wipe themselves. Humans have adapted various forms of wiping material like corn cobs and the Sears catalog.

Why do animals get away without having to attend to the problem while humans are burdened?
Excellent question! I'm always envious of how my dog so elegantly polishes off her #2 session, with no disgusting smudges to show for it.

I think part of it may be in how we sit; on a toilet bowl, with out butt cheeks together, there's a much higher chance of messiness than squatting like our animal brethren do. But then not every culture uses a toilet bowl so I'm not sure that completely answers the question.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:36 PM
KidCharlemagne KidCharlemagne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartydog
An animal takes a dump and it goes on with its business, no problem. If a human takes a dump and doesn't use toilet paper there is a mess, stink, and usually a chance of a rash developng in the anal area.

The Muslims don't allow people to eat from the common bowl with their right hand because they use their left hand to wipe themselves. Humans have adapted various forms of wiping material like corn cobs and the Sears catalog.

Why do animals get away without having to attend to the problem while humans are burdened?
Part of the reason could probably be attributed to the agricultural revolution. Prior to farming, our diet consisted mainly of meats and unprocessed fruits, nuts, and grains. The amount of natural fiber probably made for fibrously intact stools that left little residue.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:44 PM
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There's also the fact that our gluteous maximus is... well... maximus.

In 4-legged animals, the equivalent muscles are relatively small, not being needed to support the animal vertically. But since ours are so big, they block the anus. Hence we get messy.

Another mechanism that I've seen with my dogs (not intentionally, but my dogs are hairless, so I see everything) is that their colon distends out while they're pooping. Once they're done, it retracts. The only part of their body that gets messy is the part that's normally inside.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:47 PM
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My cats lick their asses to clean them. I'll stick with the Charmen, than you very much.


Also, they don't always have clean butts. Two of my cats have longer fur, which results in the occassional dingleberry.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:50 PM
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Our dog used to wipe himself by scooting across the carpet on his butt. He would get in trouble for that.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:52 PM
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Several thoughts:

1.) Man is the only animal with a butt. We developed monstrously huge gluteal muscles (compared to other simians) in order to pull us upright. Other apes knuckle-walk. They can stand upright, but not for long. Ditto for bears. Other creatures that are bipedal have either redesigned their bodies so their legs are under a balanced center of mass (think of ducks and geese) or else have grown a counterbalancing tail (dinosaurs like T. rex. Allosaurs have their tails stiffened and held out by a network of tendons so tough that they fossilize.) I don't know of any other biped besides man that has those two huge masses of gluteus maximus muscle, overlaid with subcutaneous fat. In affluent societies,a lot of fat. So buttocks lead to the gluteal fold, better known as the "ass crack". It impedes the free passage of excrement.


2.)Fortunately, people have also developed hands to wipe with. I am amazed and troubled by this. It's unhealthy to leave excrement in place on skin -- you develop rashes and sores. If you didn't wipe, you'd have to bathe daily. If we didn't have hands ith opposable thumbs, hygeine would be harder in any case. Is it possible tha opposable thumbs allowed us to be bipedal, or vice-versa?


3.) Western people sit o a toilet that compresses the buttocks together,which makes relatively cean defecation much harder. As a number of books on the bathroom have shown, the "squat" method is better in that it spreads the buttocks, and also allows the abdominal muscles to bear dwn and expel aste.

4._ Even if you squat to poop and eat a non-Western diet, you still need to wipe. There's plenty of evidence to support it. The book End Product: The Last Taboo (arguably the best book on the topic, and easily among the weirdest books in my collection) tells about somone who advocates and teacg=hes "paperlesspooping" , matter of diet and mucle control. It doesn't seem practical for most people.


So, it seems to me that people ar unique by their construction in requiring wiping, and I suspect it's related to other aspects of our volution. No joke. Western0style toilets and diet may ake the stuation worse, but can't explain the basi need.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:53 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Anyone who thinks aninmal craps aren't messy has obviously never, ever seen a cow. Crap all over the legs, all over the tail, all over the vagina.

Humans are in no way unique in producing messy turds. We are only unique in caring about it.

As far as the rash goes, that is only a problem using a sitting position to crap. The natural position of course is to squat, and that leaves so little area for contact that rashes aren't a concern
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartydog
The Muslims don't allow people to eat from the common bowl with their right hand because they use their left hand to wipe themselves.
Do they believe the cleansing hand is cleaner?
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:41 PM
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Anyone who thinks aninmal craps aren't messy has obviously never, ever seen a cow. Crap all over the legs, all over the tail, all over the vagina.
Grew up near a dairy research center. Such much of cows pooping. Also sheep, goats, and other animals. I am amazed at he mechanism by which equines seem to evert a bit of rectum and completely avoid fouling their haunches. Or the way sheep and goats produce bevys of rounded, not-smearing pellets. They stay amazingly clean, relative to people. Even the cows I've seen don't sound like the description you give.


Another complicating factor with people, of coure, is clothes. Animals, by and large, don't place cloth right nex to their rectums to aid in smearing any residue about.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
Western people sit o a toilet that compresses the buttocks together
A standard toilet seat separates, not compresses, the buttocks. Squatting separates them more. Don't believe me? Stick a small piece of note paper so that half of it is between the buttocks and half is sticking out. Most people can walk around without it falling out. Then sit on the toilet seat. Out it drops.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:11 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skammer
Our dog used to wipe himself by scooting across the carpet on his butt. He would get in trouble for that.
He probably had worms or some other anal irritation, that's the usual cause of dog butt scooting.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:28 AM
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Quote Taken directly from wikipedia

"In Australia, dag refers to wool on a sheep's rear contaminated with mud and fćcal matter. However, it has evolved from its original meaning to become an almost untranslatable and not necessarily derogatory Australian slang term referring to a likably goofy or unsophisticated person."

The point is that sheep wander around with dried shit on their rump.


I believe that chimps have been observed using leaves as loo paper. Anyone with a cite ?
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:06 AM
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Humans don't need toilet paper. For centuries, we got by just fine with corncobs.
(Insert obligatory "The Master Speaks" remark here.)
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by AWB
Another mechanism that I've seen with my dogs (not intentionally, but my dogs are hairless, so I see everything) is that their colon distends out while they're pooping. Once they're done, it retracts. The only part of their body that gets messy is the part that's normally inside.
[nitpick]I suspect you meant to say rectum - if the colon was protruding from the anus, it would be pretty bad news.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:47 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkingblinking
"In Australia, dag refers to wool on a sheep's rear contaminated with mud and fćcal matter. However, it has evolved from its original meaning to become an almost untranslatable and not necessarily derogatory Australian slang term referring to a likably goofy or unsophisticated person."

The point is that sheep wander around with dried shit on their rump.
Yeah, but that I think is because humans have bred them to have ridiculously long wool coats, which causes this problem. As a consequence, the sheep have to be "crutched" (shorn round the ass) to stop them getting fly blown.

In other words, sheep are a special case and don't really invalidate the OP's point.
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Old 05-24-2006, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danceswithcats
Do they believe the cleansing hand is cleaner?
No, Spartydog just got the hand thing wrong.
Cite: Cecil
  #18  
Old 05-24-2006, 07:41 AM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfbabe
No, Spartydog just got the hand thing wrong.
Cite: Cecil
Thanks elfbabe. When totally zoned in to that inquisitive state of mind, clarity of expression is sometimes the victim.


Quote:
Skammer Our dog used to wipe himself by scooting across the carpet on his butt. He would get in trouble for that.
Most likely, the dog's anal glands are full. A vet or a groomer will purge them. They somewhat purge on their own during defecation. I can tell when our dog's glands are full, he sits and does a few 360's. Cute, but not what you really want the dog doing to your rug.
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:56 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
[nitpick]I suspect you meant to say rectum - if the colon was protruding from the anus, it would be pretty bad news.

"Rectum? Your Honor, I damn near killed him."
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:06 AM
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Wallon writes:

Quote:
A standard toilet seat separates, not compresses, the buttocks. Squatting separates them more. Don't believe me? Stick a small piece of note paper so that half of it is between the buttocks and half is sticking out. Most people can walk around without it falling out. Then sit on the toilet seat. Out it drops.



It's frequently alleged in the literature of toilets, that Western-style toilets don't do such a great job of separating the buttocks. The book I ciote says this, as well as the architecture classic the Bathroom. Here's a cte from the internet:

Quote:
It is a well-known fact that the toilet constructions currently in use in the western world, including both the bowls and the toilet seats, are not designed to take full advantage of the user's physiological functions. Patents such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,520,005 and 3,786,522 discuss in detail some of the drawbacks of conventional toilet construction. As is indicated in such patents, conventional toilet construction not only interferes with blood circulation in the user's legs, but additionally, tends to compress the user's buttocks thereby hampering the defecation process.
United States Patent 4175294. You can look it up on the Patent DataBase, or here:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4175294.html
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:14 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidCharlemagne
Part of the reason could probably be attributed to the agricultural revolution. Prior to farming, our diet consisted mainly of meats and unprocessed fruits, nuts, and grains. The amount of natural fiber probably made for fibrously intact stools that left little residue.
No, that would account for the exact opposite. More dietary fiber increases the amount of moisture retained by the stool, resulting is softer, messier bowel movements. A low fiber diet (meat, cheese) will make hard, dry stool.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:17 AM
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"Man is the only animal that can use toilet paper - or needs to." Now, there's a great signature line for you.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:23 AM
HMS Irruncible HMS Irruncible is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
It's frequently alleged in the literature of toilets, that Western-style toilets don't do such a great job of separating the buttocks. The book I ciote says this, as well as the architecture classic the Bathroom. Here's a cte from the internet:
Far be it from me to dispute the intarwebs, but:
1) Patents aren't trustworthy as a cite. The purpose of a patent is to claim some superior way of doing something and then claim ownership of that superior way. Not exactly unbiased.
2) As far as the sitting vs. squatting debate, I've seen it go across a couple of other boards, and the cites are invariably boiled down to folk wisdom, anecdotal evidence, or just-so statements from seemingly reputable sources. I've yet to see anything that qualifies as a credible scientific study done on the matter.

My personal experience suggests that both techniques are equally likely to require cleanup, and neither is more effective at evacuating the bowels. Someone will be along shortly to explain that their personal experience is entirely different, etc.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Far be it from me to dispute the intarwebs, but:
1) Patents aren't trustworthy as a cite. The purpose of a patent is to claim some superior way of doing something and then claim ownership of that superior way. Not exactly unbiased.
Granted. I just didn't want people to think I was pulling that idea outta my....


uhhh... that I was just making it up. Other folks think so, too. And, while a patent might be prejudiced, The Bathroom is a well-researched classic, with lots of Eadweard Muybridge-style photos of people in various bathroom poses against ruled-off backgrounds, allowing you to judge the biomechanics. Don't recall how they gauged buttock squishing, though.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:49 AM
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Good OP. I've often wondered why, in this, the 21st century, we still engage in the archaic practice of wiping ourselves with dry paper, corncobs and goose necks notwithstanding.

The older I get, it seems the more wipes are required, and dragging multiple swipes of dry paper across my nethers results in irritation. I eagerly await the scientific breakthrough that will no doubt relieve this barbaric practice and allow me to clean myself in a more soothing manner. I'm open, as it were, to suggestion.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:55 AM
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The older I get, it seems the more wipes are required, and dragging multiple swipes of dry paper across my nethers results in irritation. I eagerly await the scientific breakthrough that will no doubt relieve this barbaric practice and allow me to clean myself in a more soothing manner. I'm open, as it were, to suggestion.
So you haven't seen the various flushable Wet Wipes that are in the stores and on TV, and frequently mentioned on this Board? They tried introducing them commercially decades ago (with the insanely stupid name Whistle), but they didn't catch on then. Now, it would seem, the time is ripe.

There are other alternatives, invluding toilets with built-in water sprays for washing you, but nothing else seems to have caught on.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:07 AM
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By the way, here's the Amazon page on Alexander Kira's undeservedly out-of-print book The Bathroom:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067...lance&n=283155

and Dan Sabbath's equally unavailable End Product: The First Taboo

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/091...lance&n=283155
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
There are other alternatives, invluding toilets with built-in water sprays for washing you, but nothing else seems to have caught on.
The french have been using bidets for years - not so common in the UK, although you do see them in older properties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:11 AM
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Interesting Kira himself designed a toilet seat "to support the thighs", and, one would expect, to help remedy the situation he describes in his book. Here's a cite and a picture:

http://members.aol.com/doder1/chair1.htm
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
There are other alternatives, invluding toilets with built-in water sprays for washing you, but nothing else seems to have caught on.
Although this was alluded to above and I've mentioned it in other threads, I'll say again that in my several visits to Egypt, every single toilet I've encountered was accompanied by either a bidet, a hose next to it, or a small pipe inside the toilet, the purpose of any of which was to introduce a stream of water (warm if you are lucky) to cleanse with, presumably using the left hand as necessary.

Although IHMO this results in a more comfortable, reliable, thorough cleansing of the backside (a particular advantage when one is plagued with typical traveler's digestive symptoms ), it presents a psychological barrier to westerners who are predisposed to think of touching excrement as taboo. After cleaning and then washing your hands, your hand is no dirtier than after you wash in the shower. (In those other threads some have said that it is unnecessary to involve a hand in the process, though my experience runs counter.)
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Old 05-24-2006, 10:08 AM
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You know, I tried the bidet thing the last time I was in Paris (you know, when in Rome and so forth.) Somehow I'd always sort of had it in my head that that was warm water.

It isn't.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:13 AM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
So you haven't seen the various flushable Wet Wipes that are in the stores and on TV, and frequently mentioned on this Board? They tried introducing them commercially decades ago (with the insanely stupid name Whistle), but they didn't catch on then. Now, it would seem, the time is ripe.
These are great. Once I started using them, I can not go without them or I just never feel clean!
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Brain Wreck
1) Patents aren't trustworthy as a cite.
Yeah, but they'll do in a pinch.

<insert groan smilie here>
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:54 AM
KlondikeGeoff KlondikeGeoff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walloon
A standard toilet seat separates, not compresses, the buttocks. Squatting separates them more. Don't believe me? Stick a small piece of note paper so that half of it is between the buttocks and half is sticking out. Most people can walk around without it falling out. Then sit on the toilet seat. Out it drops.
So, what in the world ever possessed you to do this experiment in the first place?

Then there is probably the worst childhood joke I recall:

Q: Why did mother nature make the ends of turds pointed?

A: So your asshole wouldn't snap shut.
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Old 05-24-2006, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff
Q: Why did mother nature make the ends of turds pointed?

A: So your asshole wouldn't snap shut.
The first time I heard that was on Opal's Page O' Flames, as a result of the typo "fecal point."
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Old 05-24-2006, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake
Anyone who thinks aninmal craps aren't messy has obviously never, ever seen a cow. Crap all over the legs, all over the tail, all over the vagina.
Maude Lebowski: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

The Dude: Oh yeah?

Maude Lebowski: Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.

The Dude: Johnson?
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:06 PM
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Yeah, but they'll do in a pinch.
In other words, half a loaf is better than none.
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:15 PM
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Isn't it about time lieu made a contribution to this thread?
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:34 PM
KidCharlemagne KidCharlemagne is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself
No, that would account for the exact opposite. More dietary fiber increases the amount of moisture retained by the stool, resulting is softer, messier bowel movements. A low fiber diet (meat, cheese) will make hard, dry stool.
Softer yes, but not messier. The fiber acts as a sponge, soaking up the water leaving the surrounding area dry.
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:34 PM
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I know diet can affect things greatly. I definately have "well that was a waste of toilet paper" days. and "OMG I've just used half the roll days." I've never bothered to figure out what foods lead to what......
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:04 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidCharlemagne
Softer yes, but not messier. The fiber acts as a sponge, soaking up the water leaving the surrounding area dry.
So you are saying a low fiber diet has messier stools? That is contrary what medical professionals say:
Quote:
People who eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to become constipated. The most common causes of constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese, eggs, and meats.

Fiber—both soluble and insoluble—is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
Hard, dry stool is inconsistent with messy bowel movements.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:56 PM
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So, what in the world ever possessed you to do this experiment in the first place?
You don't know how many telephone messages I've lost this way.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:10 PM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester
Yeah, but that I think is because humans have bred them to have ridiculously long wool coats, which causes this problem. As a consequence, the sheep have to be "crutched" (shorn round the ass) to stop them getting fly blown.

In other words, sheep are a special case and don't really invalidate the OP's point.
Same with cows. They've been modified by man. Their enormous belly is certainly the cause of an unbalanced body shape.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout
[nitpick]I suspect you meant to say rectum - if the colon was protruding from the anus, it would be pretty bad news.
I recall reading about yoga practitioners in India distending(?) or extending the colon and maybe some of the intestines to wash them in the holy water of the Ganges river.
It may have been in Ripleys' Believe It or Not book.

Diet has a lot to do with the consistency and shape or of feces, and how they may or may not get pinched/wiped off.

Does anyone have a copy of James Whitcolmb Riley's "The Old Outhouse?"
Icy corncobs... Ouch!
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself
Hard, dry stool is inconsistent with messy bowel movements.
Not in my experience. The ones that slip right out tend to be the cleanest. The ones I have to work at take work to clean up.

Anyone else got any experiences with this?
  #46  
Old 05-24-2006, 04:05 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartydog
Why do animals get away without having to attend to the problem while humans are burdened?
Because poo flinging declined in popularity after we climbed down out of the trees.
  #47  
Old 05-24-2006, 05:23 PM
mr. jp mr. jp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peak Banana
"Man is the only animal that can use toilet paper - or needs to." Now, there's a great signature line for you.
That's brilliant
  #48  
Old 05-24-2006, 05:33 PM
mr. jp mr. jp is offline
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Another variation that is not as good:

Man is the only animal that flushes - or needs to.
  #49  
Old 05-24-2006, 05:38 PM
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Don't Panic Don't Panic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. jp
Man is the only animal that flushes - or needs to.
Actually, that's even better.
  #50  
Old 05-25-2006, 12:30 AM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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OK, after reading the responses, I'm starting to get the sense that this question is one of the true imponderables.

When I submitted the question I was sincere and serious about seeking some wisdom or insight.

At this point, all I can think of is:

"The human condition is such that very little can be done without having to do paperwork."

God, does indeed, have a sense of humor.

If someone can still provide an answer I'd like to hear it.
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