Clever plant seed smells like poop, but in this case, it’s a good thing

A dung beetle pushes a ball of dung. Or IS it dung? . Warren Little/Getty Images

Sometimes smelling bad has its advantages — at least for this particular clever plant.

A new study published in the journal Nature Plants found that the South African plant Ceratocaryum argenteum, commonly known as restids, has a very unique way of spreading its seeds.

The tall, grassy plant produces seeds that both look and smell like, well, poop.

That turns out to be a good thing for the plant. It tricks dung beetles into believing that its seed is actually dung, something the beetles use as a source of food (yum) and material in their nests.

The beetle rolls the seed and buries it, as it would do with actual dung.

But researchers concluded that the dung beetle¬†didn’t stay the butt of the joke forever.

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They found that when they retrieved the buried seed, it had been abandoned (no dung beetles or eggs present), suggesting at some point the little critters figured out that they had been duped.

Meanwhile, the seed was already buried, allowing it to grow.

Who knew dung beetles made good gardeners?

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