Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Consider the lowly dung beetle

This is one topic that's Africa-related and definitely something worth pointing to before we shut this blog down.

Today, NPR aired an interview with Douglas Emlen, a professor of biology at the University of Montana, who studies dung beetles.

To all our visitors who came to Kenya and visited a game park or family I have traveled with in other parts of Africa in game parks, I have always said, "Consider the lowly dung beetle."

Everyone who goes to Africa wants to see the well-known "Big Five" game animals - lions, giraffes and elephants and all. There's more to African wildlife than these big creatures and what everybody pursues on safari. I learned while in Kenya that there's also a list of the "Little Five" animals in game parks that includes the dung beetle.

What a wonderful world we live in that there are animals at all levels of the ecosystem and with a purpose for hauling away other animals' waste, as undesirable as we think it is.

I'm thrilled that someone really has considered the lowly dung beetle and that NPR has taken note of this creature as well (and only NPR can make these sort of things interesting - yay! - that'll prompt my pledge to my local station).

Photos, videos and the audio interview with the dung beetle scientist

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