Once upon a time, humans who arrogantly assumed themselves more “advanced,” thought the ancients were all wet, with such wisdom nuggets as “as above, so below.”
Not so much anymore. Not when Science Men are discovering stuff like how dung beetles, when pushing their balls of doody around, are guided by the Milky Way.
“Even on clear, moonless nights, many dung beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths,” Marie Dacke, a biologist at Sweden’s Lund University said in a news release. “This led us to suspect that the beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation—a feat that had, to our knowledge, never before been demonstrated in an insect.”
The Science Men devised an Experiment, in order to confirm the relationship between the pint-sized poop-pushers, and the stars.
First, they built a 10-foot-wide circular arena in a South African game reserve and watched what troops of nocturnal dung beetles did on moonlit nights, moonless nights and cloudy nights. They fitted the bugs with little cardboard caps to block their view of the sky. They even fitted some of the bugs with transparent plastic caps, just to make sure that any differences they saw were due to the sky blockage rather than the presence of the caps.
Then the scientists took their dung-beetle arena into the Johannesburg Planetarium and ran the same experiment, to eliminate the possibility that the beetles were using terrestrial landmarks to plot their course in the dark. The planetarium was programmed to show the night sky with the Milky Way, or the Milky Way without the brightest stars in the sky, or the brightest stars without the Milky Way, or just the diffuse glow of the Milky Way with no stars at all.
The Milky Way is Important to the dung beetles, because “without the proper orientation, the beetles might circle back to the dung pile, where they’d have to face all the other beetles trying to steal away their tiny balls of poop.” As Science Man Marcus Byrne of the University of Witwatersrand explained: “The dung beetles don’t care which direction they’re going in; they just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile.”
This may explain why humans too veer off in so many different directions. Because humans are also too often about stealing each other’s shit. And so they “don’t care which direction they’re going in; they just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile.”