Dung beetles diversified by dining on dinosaur droppings
The appearance of dinosaurs and the flowering plants they ate opened a niche for beetles
In a new study by Dr. Nicole Gunter, the Invertebrate Zoology Collections Manager at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, she hypothesizes that the incorporation of flowering plants in the diet of herbivorous dinosaurs resulted in the first dung source that provided nutrition for the beetles, allowing them to diversify into thousands of species.
By the time dinosaurs went extinct, some dung beetles had already adapted to mammalian dung. These are the ancestors of the dung beetles we have today.