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Mega-Dung Reveals Ancient Secrets

  • 19-07-2009 3:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭

    I suppose it goes without saying that 40 million years ago the mega-fauna produced... mega-dung. As they do today, dung beetles were around to clean up the mess. While no actual fossils of these ancient workers are known, evidence indicating their existence has been found in fossil dung balls, similar to those they make today. Some were the size of tennis balls!
    The dung-beetle has fallen on hard times. Once worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians its status has now slipped to that of unsung and forgotten hero, the butt of scatological jokes. Yet the dung-beetle is truly heroic. It is a well known 'fact' that were it not for the dung-beetle the world would be knee-deep in animal droppings, especially those of large herbivores like cows, rhinos and elephants which, because they eat more food, produce more waste. By burying that waste dung-beetles not only remove it from the surface, they improve and fertilise the soil and reduce the number of disease-carrying flies that would otherwise infest the dung.

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