Question Sheet: Little Beetle, Big Horns


Before reading:

  1. Why would a scientist study beetles? 
  2. Where can you find beetles?

During reading:

  1. Why is Armin Moczek interested in dung beetles? 
  2. How do male beetles use their horns? 
  3. What is a brood ball? How do scientists make an artificial brood ball? 
  4. Explain why horns are important for beetles in the larvae stage. 
  5. Why does Emlen say, “Thinking about horns ‘forces you to go back in time'”?

After reading:

  1. Studying dung beetles might sound gross. How do think scientists overcome

    their sense of disgust? How would you overcome it if your job involved studying

    dung beetles? 

  2. Would you suspect that most dung beetles have horns or that most don’t have

    horns? Explain your reasoning. 

  3. Some scientists study how animals hear in order to understand how people

    hear. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying animals when we want to understand people?


  1. How would your life be different if you had horns? Write a short story that

    describes how your life would change if you woke up tomorrow and discovered you suddently had horns. 

  2. In stories, horns are often associated with things that are evil. Why do you

    think that is?