Dung beetle guided by the stars

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Scientist have discovered that the humble dung beetle uses the stars for navigation.

South African and Swedish scientists have found that the dung beetle uses the Milky Way for orientation.

Despite having very weak eyes, researchers found dung beetles use the gradient of light to dark created by the Milky Way to ensure they keep rolling their balls of dung away from where they came.

Previous studies from Byrne and his team had proved that dung beetles use the sun, the moon and polarised light for orientation.

Using a fake night sky, the researchers found the beetles performed best with a view of a perfect starry sky, but were able to orientate themselves with just the Milky Way.

A few other animals have been proven to use stars for orientation, such as some birds and seals, but the dung beetle is the first animal proven to use the galaxy.

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