How Dung Beetles Keep Our Planet Healthy and Clean

By Supplying Ecological Balance and an Economic Edge, These Insects Make the World Go 'Round

Excrement is not a dirty word. It is a fascinating process, and the start of a complex interaction of recycling and reusing. Surprisingly, in an age obsessed with recycling, we are remarkably cavalier about sloshing our bodily waste away down sewage pipes, which means that most people have, perhaps, lost touch with the environmental marvels and ecological lessons that dung has to offer.

Out in the natural world, though, no such thoughtless waste occurs, for which we can thank the 6,000 species of dung beetles that attend to excrement around the …

The Slimy Underworld That Emerges After the Rain

After a Good Soak, the City Comes Alive with Rare Snails, Poisonous Mushrooms, and Slug-Like Molds.

You know that earthy smell that comes just as it begins to rain after a dry spell? It has a name. Scientists call it petrichor.

When I smell petrichor, I get …