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Friday, February 01, 2013

Dung beetles use Milky Way to move poop

That's odd. I've eaten lots of Milky Way bars at my girlfriend's house...

...and I didn't know the stuff was a laxative.

*rimshot* "Yes ladies and gentlemen I'll be here all week!!"

Actually I speak of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is most visible in the Southern Hemisphere and which the humble dung beetle of sub-Saharan Africa uses for stellar navigation, scientist have recently discovered.

It's like this: dung beetles roll around balls of... ummm, "Number Two". They need to do it fast and in a straight line away from the source so that other natural predators of poo won't swipe it first. During the nighttime hours the dung beetles use the Moon to guide them. But on nights when there is no lunar light, something else is required.

So these researchers conducted a series of experiments and found that in the absence of the Moon, the Milky Way (the most concentrated visible part of it anyway, the brightest part being the galactic center in the direction of Sagittarius) suffices for the dung beetle's navigational needs

Pretty cool. So not only is the dung beetle the strongest animal on the planet in terms of weight ratios, it's also the first insect found to use the stars to guide their way.

Sorta "stinks to high heaven" in a perverse sort of way, huh?