Monday, May 3, 2010
Better Than TV
Maybe it will help my mood if I write about tool use in the dung beetle world…… A beautiful dung beetle let me witness his smarts. Please, share this story with any of the less experienced humans who think humans are intelligent and other species are just “things”.
I was coming back from a run with our younger dog, Bean. I stopped and watched a dung beetle as he was surveying a pile of poo. It had rained the day before, so it wasn’t a dung beetles favorite poo package. They like a large chunk they can burrow under and carry on their backs. This little guy tried that method, but the crumbly dung kept falling off. He tried this a few times and then walked about two feet to a dry oak leaf and pushed it back toward the dung. Then he loaded the dry leaf with a high pile of dung. He was using his head like a snow shovel and piling the dung on load by load. He then did a circle around it and checked out all the sides. It must have met his approval, because he then started burrowing under the leaf. Once under the leaf, he lifted the whole load on his back and carried it away with his new fangled “backpack”. From my birdseye view, it just looked like a leaf with poo moving along the path. Who needs TV with a show like that?