According to recent research by Australian scientists, we all have a second brain deep in our bums—and it’s surprisingly clever. It’s not a literal brain, mind you: As per Live Science’s report on the study, it’s “more of an autonomous matrix of millions of neurons that can, somehow, control intestinal muscle movements without any help from your central nervous system.” To put it another way: Your bum has a mind of its own.
Well… okay, it doesn’t reside in your bottom per se. The neurons are housed inside your large intestine (the bit that connects your small intestine to your rectum). This organ’s primary job is to keep your poo moving, and as it turns out, it does so via fairly complex neural activity. Sure, it sounds boringly functional, but after conclusive tests on mice, scientists are now more convinced than ever that this autonomous, intestinal cerebrum—our so-called “second brain”—could turn out to be quite smart.
Even more intriguing, as the researchers point out, is the idea that perhaps this isn’t so much our second brain as our first. Think about it: As mammals, we almost certainly evolved the art of doing a poo long before we did anything terribly complicated with the brains in our skulls.
Unfortunately, until we learn to harness its unique power, our bum-brains will carry on doing the job they were intended for. And let’s face it, you wouldn’t want it to stop doing what it’s doing. This brain may not help you win the pub quiz, but it’ll definitely make up for it in the morning.