We Should All Channel This 'Super-Beetle,' Which Can Survive Getting Run Over by a Car

We Should All Channel This 'Super-Beetle,' Which Can Survive Getting Run Over by a Car
Photo:Javier Cordoba (AP)

It’s Sunday night. It got dark at 5 p.m. There are two days left until the presidential election, and ??? days until we know the definitive results of said election. Most of us are ridden with anxiety, unsure of how we’re going to face the next 48 hours and beyond.

Might I suggest we all try to bring the same energy to the next few days as this beetle, which can survive getting run over by a car?

The beetle is the subject of a study being conducted by Purdue University and the University of California, Irvine, where researchers are trying to figure out why this tiny insect is so strong.

“This beetle is so tough that the energy or the force that you can do with your hand, it’s not enough—it’s like a piece of rock,” Pablo D. Zavattieri, one of the study’s authors, told CNN. “The tire of a car is not enough to collapse it.”

So far, scientists have learned that the beetle, whose proper name is Phloeodes diabolicus, owes much of its strength to its sophisticated exoskeleton, which includes two elytron, hard shells that typically encase beetle’s wings, and a connective suture. These elements work together to “distribute applied force more evenly throughout the insect’s body,” according to CNN, and allow the beetle’s structure to fracture slowly instead of snapping all at once—that’s how it can withstand roughly 39,000 times its own body weight.

Researchers hope to use the beetle’s virtually ironclad armor to learn how to engineer structures that require connecting different materials, like aircraft turbines, for example.

I hope to find in it a metaphor, to help me make it through this week.

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