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January 24 2013

Dung Beetles Navigate Via the Milky Way, An Animal-Kingdom First


Talk about star power—a new study shows that dung beetles navigate via the Milky Way, a first in the animal kingdom. The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to recent experiments in South Africa.

“This is a complicated navigational feat—it’s quite impressive for an animal that size,” said study co-author Eric Warrant, a biologist at the University of Lund in Sweden.

Moving in a straight line is crucial to dung beetles, which live in a rough-and-tumble world where competition for excrement is fierce.

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