Bombardier Beetle: a case study for every day research

As a professional environmental educator, I have spent countless hours researching for papers, projects, and lessons. But I think a large part of being human is pursuing knowledge for the sake of it. There doesn't need to be a formal "end goal:" should we not research to discover how amazing things are?

Below is just a small example of how browsing the web to unwind after a long day can become a great adventure. I welcome you to learn how I discovered the Bombardier Beetle.

1: Game Theory

Start at 8:26

As a gamer since a young age, I grew up playing Pokemon. It was actually that series that gave me the confidence to explore the natural world! So even though I play many, many other games currently it is like coming home whenever I play/talk about the Pokemon.

One of the recent episodes of Game Theory (which dedicates trying to explain theories/science in games) discussed how fire type Pokemon could actually breathe fire. I had heard the theory before: have two chemicals in the body that mix in the mouth and combust (which is the same theory of how dragons breathe fire in Game of Thrones). What I did not know is that such a creature exists today: the Bombardier Beetle.

I was amazed! How can such a small body contain the power to create such a reaction? Which lead me to the question: how can this happen?

2: How it works

Moments after I searched "bombardier beetle" I came upon multiple videos of the mechanics, just like the video above. A mix of chemicals and muscle spasms make it a very controlled explosion: enough that it can be used as a weapon!

But something didn't quite make sense the more videos I was researching...what did they mean that this beetle is causing controversy for the theory of evolution?

3: Controversy

Basically, creationists state that such a chemical reaction could not have developed over time. Something like a fin turning into a foot?  Fine. But you cannot go from no chemical reaction to a complex chemical reaction.

In the demonstration above Dawkins demonstrates how the chemical reaction could start off as mild, and then develop into what it is today.

4: Next Steps

The amount of research that I showed in this post only took me 15 minutes. I then dived into articles, journals, and much more. The point of the research was not for a grade or lesson, but just developing myself as a human being. Each time I discovery something new about life on this planet, I become a little more amazed about this little blue ball in space.

What have you researched recently?