And riding dirty this guy was doing alright. With heads down, bums up, these dung beetles do all sorts of things with their dirty ride of poo: they eat it, give them to potential girlfriends as presents, build houses and feed their children with it, cool down on it, and in good stylish fashion, they cruise with it.
Punching above their weight, this little beetle can roll up to 50 times their mass. The nutritious balls they eat are packed full of nitrogen, an essential building block for making a ton of protein, which might have something to do with their status as one of the world’s strongest creatures relative to their weight.
When travelling with their prized balls, they’re locked into reverse gear and will use cues from the sun, the moon, and in some species, the milky way, to guide them in a straight line. How’s that for a natural GPS.
They are hardly new to the scene, however, and have been rolling poo around since the dinosaur days. Researchers have recently found evidence that they existed even earlier than thought- some 115-130 million years ago- and that their evolution is tightly linked with dinosaur poo snacks. What’s more, the Ancient Egyptians believed they were sacred, and these little beetles were commonly depicted in religious artwork and jewellery.
What’s not to love about the dung beetle. Especially as they carry with them an important message: when life gives you sh*t- roll with it.