According to a study released today by scientists at Flinders University in South Australia, we may have even more reason to stop senseless whaling. The researchers found that in an awesome example of design by Mother Nature, Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by simply defecating – an action that releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide. If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn’t do much more than just sit there.

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And the giant mammals aren’t just offsetting a small portion of their own carbon footprint. Approximately 12,000 sperm whales that live in the Southern Ocean absorb about 400,000 tons of carbon each year – which is twice the amount they release by breathing. Imagine you could offset your own carbon footprint twofold and fight global warming just by pooping?

Trish Lavery, the marine biologist who led the study at the University said that without whaling there may have been 120,000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean as opposed to only 12,000. According to Ms. Lavery’s calculations, those additional whales may have meant that some 2 million tonnes of carbon could have been removed from the atmosphere each year.

Via Reuters