Monday, 18 March 2013

How the Rhinoceros Beetle Got Its Horns

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Sporting a horn on your head two-thirds the length of your body might seem like a drag. For the rhinoceros beetle, though, massive head-weapons are no big deal.

Turns out, pitchfork-shaped protrusions on the heads of rhinoceros beetles don't slow them down during flight, new research shows. The findings may explain why the beetles' horns are so diverse and elaborate, said study researcher Erin McCullough, a doctoral student at the University of Montana.

"Because the horns don't impair the beetles' ability to fly, they might be unconstrained by natural selection," McCullough told LiveScience, referring to the evolutionary process that weeds out weak traits while passing on advantageous ones.

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