News from the Natural World: Dung Beetles have started unionising in order to fight the unstoppable growth of human poo.
Dung Beetles are famous for being natures bin men because they endlessly shovel poo. Dung beetles primarily feed on faeces and waste. Some of these insectoid bin men can bury dung 250 times their own body weight in one day. One type of beetle are known as rollers. They roll dung into spheres and then use them to feed and raise young baby beetles. A second group are called tunnelers, they bury the dung wherever they find it and construct vast underground networks. Finally, the dwellers, take it one step further and actually live in the poop. All over the world there are dung beetle species of different sizes and colours, one is even an astronomer.
Dung Beetles to fight growth in human poo
This astronomer is the nocturnal African dung beetle. It is one of the only non-vertebrate creatures that navigate using the Milky Way. But despite this ability to navigate by the light of the stars, dung beetles all over the world are beginning to loose their way. They have been faced with an unprecedented growth in human waste. This is because of the huge rise in the human population across the world. On a normal day, one human does 1.2 poops every 24 hours. However, there is no such thing as “normal,” and some people can poop much more or less frequently than the average. As a rough average we produce around 128 grams of poop each day. Times that by 7.3 billion and you get 934 billion grams of waste every single day. That’s a hell of a lot of waste for the poor overworked beetles.
“A fair days dung for a fair days work”
Ultimately dung beetles were left with no choice, it was time to unionise. They gathered all the beetles across the world, the rollers, the tunnelers, the diggers as well as the star gazers. But they were unable to fill all the job roles for shovelling waste because every time they filled a roll another one became available. Furthermore they were overworked, tired, stressed and exhausted. In addition many beetles had to work 18 hour days just to stay on top of the huge amount of human poo they’d been assigned. The growth of the human population was growing too fast for the beetles to keep up.
“The dung needs you, you don’t need the dung”
When The Platypus interviewed the head of the dung beetle, Dungus Maximus, she said that the beetles had no choice. There was no way that humans would ever slow down their population growth or consume less food. They’d heard a rumour from the Cockroaches Union that the human population was even set to reach 10 billion by 2050. The Dung Beetles Union would fight for a fair days work, reduction in working hours and champion the rights of dung beetles all over the world.
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