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Scientists Try to Make a Knife out of Frozen Human Poop

Is it possible to make a functional knife blade out of human poop? Researchers at Kent State University tried their best.

They actually had a not ridiculous reason: they were testing a story of an Inuit man who used his own poop, once it had frozen, to butcher a dog. The story has been passed around ethnographic circles for a long time. But until these researchers tried it, none had been so bold as to see if it could be done.

And that's what science should do. So one of the researchers went on a high-fat diet similar to what an Inuit person might eat. S/he collected his poop and offered it to his/her colleagues. Those researchers then used knife molds and their hands to shape the poop into blades. After freezing the poop blades, the researchers tried to cut pig flesh, as you can see in the photo above.

They were unsuccessful, as their article in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports explains:

We began our cutting experiments with the hide, reasoning that if our knives could not cut hide, then subsequent attempts with muscle and tendons would be futile.
Neither the “knife mold” samples, nor the “hand-shaped knives” could cut through hide (Figs. S5–S6). Despite the hide being cold from refrigeration, instead of slicing through it the knife-edge simply melted upon contact, leaving streaks of fecal matter (Fig. S4).
We repeated the experiment using the fecal samples of another team member (M.R.B.), whose diet was more traditionally Western (see supplementary online materials). The “hand-shaped knives” were subject to the same procedures and temperatures as the first set of knives (Figs. S7–S8). However, these knives also did not cut through the hide. For curiosity's sake, we tried to cut the subcutaneous fat on the underside of the hide. With some difficulty, only the shallowest of slices could be produced, and the knife-edge still quickly melted and deteriorated (Fig. S9).

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Journal of Archaeological Science Reports


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