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No. 26: Mar-Apr 1983

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Prescient Evolution

Lately, a fossil moth egg was found in 75-million-year-old sediments in Massachusetts. The egg is positively assigned to the moth family Noctuidae and extends the fossil record of this family back into the Cretaceous. So what? Well, it turns out that Noctuidae family moths have special organs for detecting the ultrasonic cries of insect-hunting bats. The fossil record of the bats, however, only goes back to the early Eocene, perhaps 20 million years after the Noctuidae moths. Since no other insect predators like bats existed, it would seem that the moths developed these special organs in anticipation of the bats!

(Gall, Lawrence F., and Tiffney, Bruce H.; "A Fossil Noctuid Moth Egg from the Late Cretaceous of Eastern North America," Science, 219:507, 1983.) Comment. Do humans have talents that seem unimportant now but which may be useful some day? Calculating prodigies, eidetic imagers, etc.

From Science Frontiers #26, MAR-APR 1983. 1983-2000 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