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Dung beetles use the Milky Way to push poo
theverge ^ | February 1, 2013 | Amar Toor

Posted on 02/01/2013 12:11:06 PM PST by JoeProBono

Most insects have no trouble moving around when the moon is bright, but darker nights can make nighttime navigation a bit more difficult. African dung beetles, however, have apparently found a workaround — the Milky Way. A recent study from researchers in Sweden and South Africa found that on moonless nights, dung beetles use the stars to help orient themselves, a rather surprising tactic for a creature that spends so much time with its nose to the ground. In fact, scientists say these findings are the first evidence of any insect having celestial navigation capabilities.

Researchers made this discovery after examining the different ways in which the beetles push their balls of dung. Under normal conditions, the insects store their dung balls in a secure location by moving it along a straight path. As the study notes, the beetles were able to replicate this behavior under moonlit nights and on dark nights when only the Milky Way was visible, but struggled to navigate under more overcast conditions. In planetarium tests, they performed equally well under a fully starlit sky and one showing only the Milky Way. When researchers strapped visors to their heads to block out the sky entirely, they were completely disoriented.

"A first for the insect kingdom"

Thus far, only birds, humans, and seals have been known to use celestial navigation techniques, but these findings raise the possibility that other nocturnal insects may rely on the stars, as well. Yet lead researcher Marie Dacke of Lund University in Sweden cautions against extrapolating her results too far, noting that dung beetles are unique in their reliance upon straight paths to collect dung.

"Dung beetles are known to use celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon, and the pattern of polarized light formed around these light sources to roll their balls of dung along straight paths," Dacke said. "Celestial compass cues dominate straight-line orientation in dung beetles so strongly that, to our knowledge, this is the only animal with a visual compass system that ignores the extra orientation precision that landmarks can offer."


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: dungbeetles; godsgravesglyphs

1 posted on 02/01/2013 12:11:13 PM PST by JoeProBono
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To: JoeProBono

I have an indoor toilet so I use a kindle when I push poo.


2 posted on 02/01/2013 12:16:09 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: JoeProBono

And here I always thought they used their feet.


3 posted on 02/01/2013 12:16:57 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (There is no requirement to show need in order to exercise your rights.)
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To: JoeProBono

And here I always thought they used their feet.


4 posted on 02/01/2013 12:17:22 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (There is no requirement to show need in order to exercise your rights.)
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To: JoeProBono

“When researchers strapped visors to their heads to block out the sky entirely, they were completely disoriented.”

Ya think strapping a visor on an insect is NOT going to disorient it?


5 posted on 02/01/2013 12:42:58 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: JoeProBono

To dung and beyond...


6 posted on 02/01/2013 12:43:14 PM PST by stuartcr ("I upraded my moral compass to a GPS, to keep up with the times.")
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To: stuartcr

Who knew they were a laxative?

7 posted on 02/01/2013 12:44:22 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Ya think strapping a visor on an insect is NOT going to disorient it?

Probably not only disoriented it, but also disconnected its head from the body...

8 posted on 02/01/2013 12:45:33 PM PST by El Cid (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house...)
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To: cripplecreek


9 posted on 02/01/2013 12:57:55 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

10 posted on 02/01/2013 12:59:50 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono
Who needs GPS?

Just carry a dung bettle in your underpants!

11 posted on 02/01/2013 1:15:29 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower.)
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To: JoeProBono

Are those ‘medical gloves’ the beetle is wearing ?


12 posted on 02/01/2013 1:17:12 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (What difference does it make (if they eat cake)?)
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To: JoeProBono

Huh. The Democrats use MSNBC.


13 posted on 02/01/2013 1:19:32 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
The Democrats use MSNBC.
yeah...Then they re-broadcast it to Washington DC area & hundreds of homes, airports & prisons throughout North America.

14 posted on 02/01/2013 1:27:51 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (who'll take tomorrow,spend it all today;who can take your income,tax it all away..0'Bozo man can :-)
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To: JoeProBono

“What project is your son the scientist working on these days?”

“Beetles pushing around balls of crap at night.”

“Ahhhhh.....a political scientist.”


15 posted on 02/01/2013 1:34:43 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: blueunicorn6

16 posted on 02/01/2013 1:36:46 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

Rumor has it that a certain Kenyan dung beetle was able to navigate his way from Africa to North America.........Just a rumor however :)


17 posted on 02/01/2013 1:44:13 PM PST by The Cajun (Sarah Palin, Mark Levin......Nuff said.)
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To: JoeProBono

I really thought I had it made. You see, I’ve developed the world’s smallest set of night vision goggles. They fit perfect on the beetles. The beetles were ecstatic, but they said they could only pay me in dung. I told them if I wanted to work for crap for pay, I’d have taken that insurance job.


18 posted on 02/01/2013 2:03:58 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: blueunicorn6

19 posted on 02/01/2013 2:06:06 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono
I've never noticed the Milky Way in the sky. Is it only visible in the southern hemisphere?
20 posted on 02/01/2013 3:38:49 PM PST by HenpeckedCon (What pi$$es me off the most is that POS commie will get a State Funeral!)
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To: HenpeckedCon

Because the Milky Way forms a great circle in the sky, you can see equal amounts of it from the same latitude in either hemisphere. The closer to the equator you are, the more you can see. At the poles, you can only ever see half, because you can only see half of the sky. At the equator, you can see it all, because you can see the whole sky (if you watch for a whole year).


21 posted on 02/01/2013 3:48:53 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks JoeProBono. Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


22 posted on 02/02/2013 11:01:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv

23 posted on 02/02/2013 11:07:27 PM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

So this is where the Greeks got their myth of Sisyphus from.


24 posted on 02/02/2013 11:31:55 PM PST by thecodont
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