A tribute to this year’s Ig Nobel Price winners

See page for author [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

A picture of the Milky Way. CC license, for details see here.

I just realized that, unlike in previous years, I completely missed the announcement of the Ig Nobel Price winners 2013, which took place at Harvard last week.

My sympathy is of course with all laureates, yet, I can’t help but feel that our wider field (biology) contributed two particularly worthy studies to this event, with the JOINT PRIZE IN BIOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY going to Marie Dacke [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA], Emily Baird [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY], Marcus Byrne [SOUTH AFRICA, UK], Clarke Scholtz [SOUTH AFRICA], and Eric J. Warrant [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY], for

discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way

Imagine a young male dung beetle using the stars to navigate home to it’s female – a study that certainly hits a nerve of a hopeless romantic like me (I will shamelessly misuse this moment to link another, completely unrelated romantic post).

But this is not all from biology, also the PROBABILITY PRIZE was awarded to a behavioral study, to Bert Tolkamp [UK, the NETHERLANDS], Marie Haskell [UK], Fritha Langford [UK, CANADA], David Roberts [UK], and Colin Morgan [UK], for making two related discoveries:

First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

Congratulations to all laureates!


Dacke M, Baird E, Byrne M, Scholtz CH, & Warrant EJ (2013). Dung beetles use the Milky Way for orientation. Current biology : CB, 23 (4), 298-300 PMID: 23352694

Bert J. Tolkamp, Marie J. Haskell, Fritha M. Langford, David J. Roberts, Colin A. Morgan (2010). Are cows more likely to lie down the longer they stand? Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 124, 1-10 DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.02.004

2 thoughts on “A tribute to this year’s Ig Nobel Price winners

  1. Hat dies auf Cornelius Senf rebloggt und kommentierte:
    Well, dung beetles navigate home by looking at the Milky Way and the probability that cows will soon stand up increases with the time of that has been lying down before. Predicting when it will lie down again, however, is not that easy to predict.

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