Dance of the Dung Beetles
Their role in a changing world
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.
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