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No. 12: Fall 1980

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Static on the hare-lynx cycle signal

Almost all ecology textbooks present the 10-11 year hare-lynx cycle as a classic case of prey-predator oscillations. The major data source for such population studies is the record of pelt sales rather than actual field observations. Looking beyond such superficial information, researchers have discovered that the quantity of pelts offered for sale by the Indians depends upon the amount of time they can divert to hunting pelts. This, in turn, is affected by the abundance of food animals, such as moose and hares. It is food first and pelts second. Furthermore, when the plants consumed by hares are overbrowsed during periods of dense hare population, they defend themselves by generating resins and other compounds toxic or repellent to hares. Thus, the hare abundance cycle is affected by:

(1) Plant defenses; (2) Indian hunting strategies; and (3) The lynx.

(May, Robert M.; "Cree-Ojibwa Hunting and the Hare-Lynx Cycle,: Nature, 286: 108, 1980.)

Comment. Here is another case where the attractiveness of a theoretical model has dampened further inquiry.

From Science Frontiers #12, Fall 1980. 1980-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987