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Image: X-ray of hands making a heart shape

Why Don’t Beetles Have Bones? (And Why Do You?)

We carry one of the world’s most fascinating rock collections inside us every day! These rocks (you may call them bones) are meticulously strung together to create our human forms. Cats have them, dogs have them, even birds and salamanders have them, but have you ever wondered why some creatures wear their skeletons on the outside? How did beetles and lobsters and ants end up walking around in a sort of home-grown body armor? And why don’t we?!

Long, long ago, deep in the sea, the crust of our planet was shifting. In the gaps that they left, millions of tiny particles trickled out. And it was in the slightly different ways that ancient creatures used these particles that set the stage for you and I and the dragonflies to end up looking drastically different from each other!

Can one tiny change really make this huge of a difference in our lives? I’ve got a little journey to take you on—one that explores the very origins of the skeletons inside us—to see how the smallest twists of evolutionary fate can have a monumental impact on the world!

Image: X-ray of hands making a heart shape  out of the skeleton
Source: Golan Levin // Flickr

The tiny changes that made you!

Humans could have looked SO different if not for a few small tweaks.

Millions of years of happenstance have led to us being able to do all that we’re able to do. We’re flexible yet strong, not the largest animal out there but clever and quick. But if our long-long-ago genetic ancestors made a few minuscule turns in the path of evolution, what it means to be “human” may have been the opposite of all of that!

As with most forms, we begin with our scaffolding; what holds us up and “desquishifies” us against the world. To continue our journey into understanding how a few random events long ago created life as you and I know it to be now, we’re turning to the fantastic Joe Hanson from It’s Okay To Be Smart!

This look into why our skeletons are inside of us—instead of us all rocking a sweet suit of armor—is one of my favorite videos from him yet. Enjoy!

Via: It’s Okay To Be Smart 1

How fascinating was that?! All of this information was new to me and I’m so thankful that Joe Hanson and It’s Okay To Be Smart are out there to keep making these introductions to these fascinating stories of our world! If you’d like to check out more of their great content, click here to head to their full library!

And if you’d like to learn more about how to keep that skeleton of yours all healthy, check out this article from our library!

All of this can get you wondering…

If one difference in how a mineral was used can wind up with us on one end of the skeletal line and stag beetles on the other, how does one difference in each of our individual experiences impact us?

If we’re each an accumulation of tiny differences—different structures of the same genetic bits, differences in locations, support as children, opportunities, and experiences—we’re sure to live our lives in different ways. It’s what makes you and I our amazing individual selves with all of our unique abilities!

By looking back at the chance circumstances that formed one of our most basic bits, we’re offered a lot of context in how these tiny differences in our lives can result in such a variety of personalities. And how there’s so much to celebrate in whatever the outcome! It can also make one wonder about the influence of the small actions we take every day. How will what we do or learn today impact where we land in the future? Turns out, our very own scaffolding can give us a clue.

How nice is that?

If you’d like to see how some people have transformed their random chance encounters, check out these articles next!

Socialite to Social Innovator: “Charity Water” Brings Clean Water to the World

A former nightclub promoter is now saving millions of lives by bringing them clean water. He used the skills he honed to develop one of the most successful non-profits we’ve ever seen—and you can have a part in it too. Here’s the story. 

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast
The Unexpected Ways Surfing is Helping Youth Heal

Life is tough, but it’s a whole lot easier when we’re around people who share similar experiences in a no pressure environment. Waves for Change is one of the organizations out there harnessing the power of sport and play to create environments where children are able to open up and heal!

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast
The Power of Giving People a “Lollipop Moment”

Heard anything about “Lollipop Moments”? Here’s an amazing metaphor to remember how easy it is to fundamentally improve someone’s life with just a simple turn of a phrase!

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast

I wonder what events will take place because of what happens in our lives today… or even because you used your finger bones to click on this article and watch that video. In any case, let’s do our best to make them positive, shall we? To learn about a great way to easily bring joy to your and someone else’s day, click here.

As always, my calcium-rich friend, stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

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  1. It’s Okay To Be Smart. “Why Is Our Skeleton On the Inside?” YouTube, 28 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhOU3FOyApM&feature=emb_title. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.
Published: August 26, 2020

Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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