In 2015, Jesus Rivera filmed a very unusual science experiment for posterity.
On the asphalt of a sun-soaked parking lot, he placed a mottled black beetle on a pillow of dirt and had a colleague run it over with a Toyota Camry. Twice.
Just about any other bug would have died. This one, a species called Phloeodes diabolicus, did not.
“Yeah, it’s still alive,” Dr. Rivera narrated matter-of-factly, as he prodded the still-intact beetle on the video. “It’s playing dead. But it’s still alive.” Bashed beneath the wheels of a 3,500-pound sedan, the inch-long insect made it through without a scratch. It was a seemingly impossible physical puzzle that Dr. Rivera spent his doctoral career obsessively trying to solve.
What a life being a scientist can be huh? I mean talk about a short stick for this beetle here. "We're going to run you over with a car and then if you survive we're going to take credit and prop ourselves up as scientific geniuses for it" is quite the sales pitch to a bug that can't really use the internet. Feel like there's gotta be some sort of kickback for the insect side of things here, but I guess that's how things go when you're a Beetle PR firm. I mean I guess the scientists already did enough for it when they called it the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle. That's the coolest legacy that any bug could ask for. This beetle did get steamrolled against his will, but this has to be the most positive press beetles have had since Paul McCartney did that song with Rihanna.
As far as the technology that Mother Nature came up with here? I still don't understand how it works but goddamn if it doesn't look impressive. There's a real chance every beetle shell looks similar to this when looked at up close, but this is the only one I've seen in this manner and it took my breath away. It seems like the type of shit humans will eventually steal from the beetle without ever paying them back a single bushel of food or a pile of logs to live in.
But that's just how the game goes when you are the most prominently developed brain on Earth. You run shit over with cars, take their armor technology from them, and then move on to the next thing. The real question that is in my mind after this development is wondering how many other discoveries there are there waiting to be discovered. If this beetle is sitting here with the insect equivalent to Teflon, what type of alien technology is floating around at the bottom of the ocean?
Beetles are cool as shit!