News of the Weird's favorite animal was called "heroic" by Argentine researchers in a July issue of the journal Paleontology. Had it not been for high-performance South American scarab dung beetles, they wrote, gargantuan prehistoric mammals would have choked vast areas of the continent knee-deep in manure. The researchers found that, by burying tennis-ball-sized "food supplies" for their young, the beetles also improved surface sanitation by leaving less dung available for "disease-carrying flies."

  • or