Re: Did Dung Beetles Kill The Mushroom?

Anders Sandberg (
Sun, 27 Jul 1997 23:18:08 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 25 Jul 1997 wrote:
> << I also think it the beetles form an integral part of the svannah
> ecosystem; without them the dung would not fertilize the soil as
> quickly and the open grasslands would not be possible (note the neat
> loop here: grasslands suit grazers, grazers produce dung, dung helps
> the beetles and makes the grass possible; once started it is
> self-supporting).
> >>
> How would the dung fertilize the soil if the beetles ate all the dung? Also,
> if the dung did fertilize the soil, thats all the mushrooms need to grow
> from.

Actually, dung beetles bury the dung in underground chambers for
their larvae to feed from. Since the larvae won't eat everything (and
themselves excrete), the contents of the chambers are perfect
fertilization of the soil.

Mushrooms are quite specific about where they grow; change the local
chemistry slightly and they won't grow there anymore. This includes
the ecosystem; while some mushrooms grow well in grasslands, others
need certain trees or environments. I'm not an expert on psychoactive
mushrooms, but I suspect they are mainly forest growers?

(Apropos mushrooms: I hope you have all heard that the chanterelle
has been successfully cultivated! Can't remember the reference, I
suspect french scientists. This is great news for all us lovers of
this yellow delicacy...)

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y