Thursday, 23 May 2019

Hippos Act Like Silicon Pumps

Image courtesy of Matthias Kabel, CC BY-SA 3.0).

Joel Kontinen

Hippos eat grass and they then they defecating it in the water. They are acting like living silicon pumps. Each hippos eat around 40 kilograms of grass and other plants rich in silicon dioxide – also known as silica – only to spend the following day lazing around in the water where they digest and excrete it.

Jonas Schoelynck and his colleagues in studied the silicon levels in a hippo-dominated ecosystem in south-western Kenya. In one 250-metre stretch of river Mara, they found 80 hippos.

Hippos act as a kind of conveyor belt, transporting silica from land to water,” says Schoelynck.

The research was reported in Science Advances.

Hippos have been driven from Lake Victoria. If populations shrink further, the amount of silicon pumped into waterways will diminish, and the important plants and fish there could be in jeopardy, says the team.

This kind of stuff does not evolve on its own. It needs a process, a mind to start it. This is a call for God, who ordained everything the right way.


Prosser Scully, Ruby. 2019. Hippos poop a huge amount of silicon every day – and it’s a good thing, New Scientist (1 May).