It turns out that poop could be what saves whales once and for all.
According to the Guardian, a seven-week study of blue whale poop in the Antarctic hopes to prove that the whales are irreplaceable for the ecosystem and therefore must be protected.
Yes, everyone poops. But not everyone's poop is as special as whale poop.
"Conservation campaigns are usually focused on [the whales'] beauty, but that doesn't convince everyone," marine biogeochemist Lavenia Ratnarajah said, per the Guardian. "If we can show how much these animals contribute to the functions of the ocean, then it will be easier to save them."
As Azula previously reported, whale poop does serve the sea in a few ways. For one, their feces is rich in iron. That, in turn, attracts phytoplankton, which is one of the key building blocks of the food chain.
Azula also noted that whale poop redistributes nutrients from deeper in the water column to the surface, especially from deep-diving sperm whales.
But the team of scientists have narrowed in on blue whale poop in particular.
They believe they can make a case for blue whale feces helping the environment in ways no other animal poop can.
That's because, in the polar ecosystem, whales are one of the only creatures who poop in the sea. The Guardian reported that other major species like penguins and seals defecate on the ice.
So they're helping NO ONE with their poop.
The scientists plan to take poop samples via drone and study the feces' impact on the ecosystem and climate. The remote acquiring process is so that no one has to get too close to the goopy orange mess.
"You don't want to fall into it. It's liquid and smells awful," Ratnarajah told the Guardian.