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No. 81: May-Jun 1992

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More Mouse Engineering

Shortly after writing in SF#79 about the "Ancient Greek Pyramids" and the Saharan mice that construct small pyramids of pebbles to extract moisture from the air, we serendipitously ran across the following:

"Australian Native Mice. The species P. chapmani builds low mounds of pebbles over its burrow systems, and P. hermannsburgensis may use these mounds after they are constructed. The pebbles are of a uniform size and cover a large area, often a meter in diameter. The pebbles are probably collected both by excavation and from the surface. Some local mammalogists believe these are used as dew traps. Since the air around the pebbles warms more rapidly as the sun rises than do the pebbles themselves, dew forms on the pebbles by condensation. As the areas in which these mounds are found are quite dry, except after a heavy rain, these dew traps solve the problem of water shortage. Local farmers use the many pebble mounds for mixing concrete. It is believed that the ancient people of the Mediterranean region used a dew trap method comparable to that of P. chapmani."

(Nowak, Ronald M.; "Australian Native Mice," Walker's Mammals of the World, Baltimore, 1991, p. 820.)

Comment. Now we must decide between at least three possibilities. Since the Australian native mice and Saharan mice are many thousands of miles apart, we have: (1) independent mouse inventions; (2) mouse telepathy; or, worst of all, (3) an example of Sheldrake's morphic resonance!

From Science Frontiers #81, MAY-JUN 1992. 1992-2000 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