In this week’s Neurotechnology tip we’re moon walking our way out of the mire
Moon walking beetle style
For dung beetles to “succeed”, they need to be able to roll their dung ball, AWAY from the pile. Any deviations from STRAIGHT, could see the beetle back at the dung pile, fighting for possession.
To move away in a straight line, it helps to know where you are.
So once a dung beetle has secured it’s little piece of the dung pie, it takes a moment to orientate itself to the heavens, by climbing on top of the pile.
From the top, it marks its position. During daytime escapades the sun acts as its guide, at night the beetles, use the moon and stars as their positioning guide.
Navigating by the stars
The star gazing abilities of dung beetles has recently been uncovered by a team of South African researchers. The researchers were able to fit dung beetles with tiny pairs of goggles, that blocked their celestial view.
Dung beetles that could no longer see the stars, could not escape the dung pile – leaving them quite literally in the poop.
Dung beetles don’t have x-ray vision, so it is highly unlikely they are tracking individual constellations, like the Southern Cross. So what are they doing ?
The milky way lights the way
If you’re a city slicker, gazing up into the night sky is a wash out, you can see the moon and a few key stars, in the well known constellations, but not much beyond that.
But staring into that night sky, in the middle of the African bush, the sky looks like an overzealous artist has swept a paint brush across the sky. The beetles are using light gradients to fix their position.
It is not just dung beetles that find themselves knee deep in poop.
All of us face difficulties and challenges………. manoeuvring out of the dung pile requires pushing in a straight line.
Follow the example of the little dung beetle, take a moment to take a big picture view. And then moonwalk your way – out of the poop.
|Poop scooping clears the air||If one of these moves into your neighbourhood you’re doomed||A little sun shine chases away what’s bugging you|
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