Dance of the Dung Beetles Cover

Dance of the Dung Beetles

Their role in a changing world

256 pages

April, 2019

ISBN: 9781776142347



Add to Cart Available: 3/11/2019


Marcus Byrne is Professor in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Science  at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He has studied dung beetles for more than 30 years. He is a TED presenter and a recipient of an IgNobel prize and has received numerous awards for his work on popularizing the biological sciences.

Helen Lunn has a PhD in Musicology and has a wide research base. She edited three compilations of DRUM magazine and more recently worked for Oprah as South African coordinator and producer on a variety of educational projects.

The sweeping scientific and social history of the humble dung beetle
In this extensive history of more than 3,000 years, beginning with Ancient Egypt, scientist Marcus Byrne and writer Helen Lunn capture the diversity of dung beetles and their unique behavior patterns. Dung beetles’ fortunes have followed the shifts from a world dominated by a religion that symbolically incorporated them into some of its key concepts of rebirth, to a world in which science has largely separated itself from religion and alchemy. With over 6,000 species found throughout the world, these unassuming but  remarkable creatures are fundamental to some of humanity’s most cherished beliefs and have been ever present in religion, art, literature, science and the environment. They are at the center of current gene research, play an important role in keeping our planet healthy,and some nocturnal dung beetles have been found to navigate by the starry skies. Outlining the development of science from the point of view of the humble dung beetle is what makes this charming story of immense interest to general readers and entomologists alike.