This Beetle Can Survive Being Run Over by a Car

The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle is one of the most resilient beings on the planet. Its protective shell can withstand forces that would pulverize most other living things. In 2015, when entomologists told scientist Jesus Rivera that a beetle found primarily on the west coast of North America had a “superpower” that allowed it to survive being run over by a car, he didn’t believe them. So, he staged a rudimentary experiment. He laid the nondescript black beetle on a pillow of dirt in a parking lot and had a friend run it over with his Toyota Camry — twice. The bug played dead afterwards, but as Rivera started poking it, he realized it was very much alive. The bug scientists were right, this beetle could easily survive being run over by cars. Rivera ended up spending his doctoral career studying the beetle’s superpower to find out what made it so strong. Although not much larger than a grain of rice, its protective exoskeleton allows it to resist a force 39,000 times its body weight, which scientists explain is the equivalent of a 150-pound person surviving under the weight of about 25 blue whales. Studying the bug's natural armor, scientists found that it was packed with proteins that seemed to enhance its durability. To date, there are no materials that mimic the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle’s protective armor, but the data recently published in a new study is expected to inspire new and innovative materials that copy both the structure and design mother nature created.