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WILD & WEIRD: Dung Beetles Use Milky Way to Navigate

Just when you thought the dung beetle -- which spends most of its time rolling balls of feces around -- couldn't get any odder, a new study claims these critters actually use the heavens to steer that valuable excrement through the night. 

In a paper published in Current Biology, a team of researchers offered the first bit of evidence for insect star-mapping -- and the first evidence of Milky Way mapping in any animal.

So the next time you look up at the vastness of the stars and ponder your place in the heavens, you can rest assured that you are not alone. The dung beetle is also pondering its place in this wild-and-weird universe -- or rather, the place of its precious dung ball.

Check out this brief dung beetle biopic, one of our videography team's first works.


DUNG BEETLES: CELESTIAL NAVIGATORS


 



This video originally appeared on the Center's YouTube channel.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton