• Question: why did you chose to study about the burying beetle instead of any other animal?

    Asked by head1want to Georgia L on 9 May 2024.
    • Photo: Georgia Lambert

      Georgia Lambert answered on 9 May 2024:

      That is a great question! Firstly, they are just really pretty beetles and I think they are fun to work with but the main serious reasons are:

      1) Often in biology we study a question using one or two types of animals and then assume what we find applies to others because we don’t have enough time or money to look at every animal. Most people studying how parental care evolved (which is what I am interested in) have chosen to focus on birds or humans. I wanted to see whether what we know about parental care from birds and humans is also true of insects. SPOILER: its not! My beetles seem to behave quite differently which is really interesting! 🐞

      2) Because we can keep them in a lab which makes doing experiments a lot easier. A lot of what I want to know could also be studied in elephants for example but it would be near impossible to get elephants into a small lab and even if you could, they wouldn’t be very happy about it! Burying beetles are local to Edinburgh (where I work) and it is quite easy to give them enough space and keep them happy in a lab. 🥼