Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
Beetles battle to be the top poopmaster! (Science)
Horns on bulls, antlers on stags and other guy weapons have preoccupied scientists who study evolution, Stankowich says. Darwin proposed that male weaponry arose from the struggle between rivals for access to females, and later work has found plenty of examples that fit that scenario.
Yet females of some species grow their own arsenals. Defense against predators probably drove the evolution of female horns in some bovine species, for example, according to work by Stankowich and Tim Caro of the University of California, Davis. In a smaller number of other bovines, such as the little antelopes called duikers, territorial battles probably favored female horns.
But the beetle horns are special, Stankowich says. Female duiker horns generally look like the males’, but female dung beetles grow another type of horn altogether.
The female beetles sprout a large central horn with a smaller stub in front of it, Watson says. The arrangement looks like a miniature version of a rhino’s arsenal. Males grow a pair of stubbier horns, more like a bull’s, that sprouts from a different place on the body.
Because male and female horns are so different, Watson and Simmons dismiss the possibility that the female horns grow simply as some kind of genetic spillover from male horns. Instead, Stankowich says, “it’s an independent evolutionary event from male horn evolution.”