Why Earth Isn’t Covered in Poop (or The Virtue of Dung Beetles)

To be or not to be? That is the question. Also, there’s a second question: Why isn’t the world covered in literal crap? The video below answers one of those conundrums: try to guess which one!

The clip above on the topic of worldwide crap production was posted by TED-Ed, the YouTube channel that’s previously given us critical enlightenment into issues such as why your cat is so dang weird. This time around we get a crash course on poop, and honestly it’s the most interesting poop 101 course since we learned why dogs eat their own warm gifts to the world.

And we’ll bet you didn’t even know the answer to why in the world the world isn’t covered in crap: Yes, it’s due to dung beetles. Dung beetles like this one:

Dung Beetle Rolling Two Balls of Dung. Image: Wikimedia / Sripathiharsha

Apparently these little guys, which are present on six out of the seven continents (no Antarctica for these little poop fiends), are just about everywhere there’s poop out in the wild. And they really like dung. Like, really like it.

Perhaps the best part of the video, aside from learning about all the really great ways dung beetles involve dung into their sex and social lives, is the fact that they literally eat dung from birth until death. These beetles are 100% dung fed and look at what life has animated simple dung into! Magical. Also, the longer tubes of dung these little guys roll around with are called “dung sausages.” But that’s just a bonus.

What do you think about the masses of dung beetles who keep a tidal wave of poop constantly at bay? Do you want to start a band called “Dung Sausages”? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image: TED-Ed

GIF: Giphy 

Science is wonderful:

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