The Crazy Reasons Why The Ancient Egyptians Deified The Dung Beetle
The ancient Egyptians are credited with forming one of history's first civilizations. Historians could tell you all about the many accomplishments made by the ancient Egyptians, some good and others not so good. As you can imagine, the ancient Egyptians did get many things wrong, and this includes their beliefs about dung beetles. There are many animals that ancient civilizations held in high regard. For example, most of us know that the ancient Egyptians deified cats. Obviously, scientific knowledge was lacking back then, and that would be putting it mildly. So when it came to understanding the nature of many of earth’s creatures, the ancient Egyptians were nearly always off the mark. The beliefs they held about dung beetles was certainly no exception.
Since dung beetles live their entire lives playing with their own excrement, you would not think that these insects would hold a divine meaning to any group of people. In fact, dung beetles even resort to coprophagous activities, meaning they eat their own feces. There are currently around six thousand dung beetle species documented in the world. One of the most well known among these species is the Goliath dung beetle, which is one of the largest insects on record. The scarab dung beetle is probably the most popular dung beetle of all. The popularity of the scarab dung beetle is likely due to its depiction as an evil entity in the film entitled The Mummy. In reality, scarab dung beetles were revered by the ancient Egyptians.
Scarab dung beetles roll feces into spherical balls, which they then continuously push across the ground. It was this dung beetle behavior that fascinated the ancient Egyptians because they believed that the spherical dung resembled the sun. This ancient civilization believed that the spherical dung package would eventually disappear, much like how the sun disappears at sunset. This is why the ancients Egyptians worshiped a solar god, which they depicted as having the head of a scarab beetle. It goes without saying that these beliefs existed long before Galileo left his mark on the field of astronomy.
Which other insects do you know of that were revered by past societies?