Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

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Search results for: caterpillars

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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 85: Jan-Feb 1993 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Singing Caterpillars Actually, the singing caterpillars are not particularly tuneful. They really generate a vibration that is transmitted through the material they are resting on. You and I cannot hear caterpillar songs, but some ants can, and they are attracted to these insect sirens. The singing caterpillars belong to the Lycaenidae, which include such butterflies as the hairstreaks and blues. It is not only the singing or vibrating of this group of caterpillars that makes them remarkable, it is the complexity of their symbiotic relationships with several species of ants and a plant. Since both the ants and the caterpillars favor the Croton plant, they could well meet by chance, but the caterpillars' singing serves to accelerate contact. Once met on the Croton plant, a fascinating triangle is completed. Player 1. The Croton plant provides nourishment to the caterpillars through both its leaves and specially evolved nectaries (nectar-producing organs), but receives nothing in return. The ants also dote on the nectaries, but they at least protect the plant from all herbivorous insects except the singing caterpillars. Player 2. The ants get food from both the Croton plant and the caterpillars. The latter have evolved extrudable glands called "nectary organs." For their part of the bargain, the ants protect the caterpillar from predatory wasps, just as they defend the Croton plant from its enemies. Player 3. The caterpillars, though seemingly benign, are the heavies in this ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 63: May-Jun 1989 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Caterpillars That Look Like What They Eat While E. Greene was studying insecteating birds, he was startled when an oak tree catkin started to crawl away from him. The crawling catkin turned out to be a cleverly camouflaged caterpillar ( Nemoria arizonaria ). When these caterpillars start eating oak catkins in the spring, they soon take on the golden color and fuzzy appearance of the catkins. However, the second brood, which matures after the catkins have disappeared, develop instead a twig-like appearance after consuming oak leaves. Thus, both broods acquire the proper protective camouflage for each season. Experiments show that plant chemicals control the appearance of the caterpillars. (Green, Erick; "A Diet-Induced Developmental Polymorphism in a Caterpillar," Science, 243:643, 1989. Also: Wickelgren, I.; "Caterpillar Disguise; You Are What You Eat," Science News, 135: 70, 1989.) Comment. Is it naive to wonder why the oaks contribute to their own destruction by providing the caterpillars with chemicals that help conceal them from predators? Plants are usually very clever about producing insect-discouraging chemicals in their leaves. One would expect that "evolutionary forces" would have produced chemicals that would have made the caterpillars more obvious to their predators instead of visa versa. From Science Frontiers #63, MAY-JUN 1989 . 1989-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Those Amazing Insects Scientific creationists often point out marvels of biological engineering as proofs that evolution by small chancedirected steps is, to say the least, improbable. A sharp arrow for their qui ver has just appeared in Science. Caterpillar-ant vibrational communication. Some species of caterpillars cannot survive predation unless they are protected by ants. To attract the ants, who just happen to dote on special secretions of the caterpillars, the caterpillars send out vibrational signals across leaves and twigs. In addition to their secretory structures, the caterpillars have also evolved novel vibrators to send out their calls for protection. A few butterfly species from all continents (except Antarctica) have evolved these devices. Looking at this geographical spread, P. J. DeVries thinks that the two sets of organs must have developed independently at least three times . (DeVries, P.J .; "Enhancement of Symbioses between Butterfly Caterpillars and Ants by Vibrational Communication," Science, 248:1104, 1990.) From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990 . 1990-2000 William R. Corliss ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 76  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf071/sf071b09.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 27: May-Jun 1983 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects How Trees Talk To One Another Trees talk only in children's cartoons -- that's currently accepted wisdom. But when trees attacked by caterpillars sound an alarm that other trees in the vicinity detect and heed, some sort of communication system seems required. The evidence is found in trees that react to caterpillar attack or leaf damage by making their leaves harder to digest. When one tree is attacked, not only does it start making less nutritious leaves but so do other trees as far as 200 feet away. No root connections have been found. In tests with potted maples and poplars inside plexiglass enclosures, the attack warning got through to trees in the same chamber but not to control trees outside the plexiglass. Thus, the warning seems to be transmitted by air -- probably chemically. David Rhoades is conducting further research at the University of Washington. (Boling, Rick; "Tree ESP," Omni, p. 42, December 1982. Cr. P. Gunkel) Comment. Question: How is the message received, decoded, and turned into biological action? If we could set up chemical "antennas" in the air around us, what other revealing messages would we "hear"? From Science Frontiers #27, MAY-JUN 1983 . 1983-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 85: Jan-Feb 1993 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Clams before columbus Europe's mystery people Astronomy Heavy traffic in near-earth space WHY INTELLIGENT LIFE NEEDS GIANT PLANETS Biology Biology's big bang Singing caterpillars The lures of mussels WHEN A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORSE THAN TWO IN THE BUSH Growth spurts in children GEOMAGNETIC STORMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Our chemical brain Geology Biogeology Two tsumani tales Geophysics A PARADE OF SPINNING PHOSPHORESCENT WHEELS BALL LIGHTNING PUNCHES CIRCULAR HOLE IN WINDOW Unclassified Three views of mortality Electronic channeling ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 15  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf085/index.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 63: May-Jun 1989 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Peruvian geoglyphs A NEW LOOK AT THE BAT CREEK INSCRIPTION Explaining the "artifact gaps" Astronomy A HEX ON SATURN The planets are unpredictable Comets and life Life currents in space Some editorial pedantry Biology Caterpillars that look like what they eat A MAGNETIC SENSE IN MICE Taking the radon cure Trees talk in w-waves The language of life Geology More confusion at the k-t boundary Where on earth is the crust? Physics Cold fusion and anomalies ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 15  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf063/index.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 42: Nov-Dec 1985 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Trees may not converse after all!Back in SF#27, we reported how some evidence suggested that trees might communicate with one another in connection with insect attacks. S. V. Fowler and J.H . Lawton contest this conclusion, and they have experimental evidence to back them up. Working with birch trees, they defoliated saplings 5% and 2s% and looked for signs of intertree communication. They found none. As for previous claims for this phenomenon, Fowler and Lawton believe that one study was statistically flawed, and the other due to an infectious disease transmitted between caterpillars rather then talking trees. (Fowler, Simon V., and Lawton, John H.; "Rapidly Induced Defense and Talking Trees: The Devil's Advocate Position, " American Naturalist, 126:181, 1985.) From Science Frontiers #42, NOV-DEC 1985 . 1985-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... . Stewart endeavor to set us straight. The arguments against the "genes-are-everything" paradigm are long and complex, but Cohen and Stewart also provide some simple, possibly simplistic observations supporting a much broader view of genetics. Mammalian DNA contains fewer bases than amphibian DNA, even though mammals are considered more complex and "advanced." The implication is that "DNA-as-a -message" must be a flawed metaphor. Wings have been invented at least four times by divergent classes (pterosaurs, insects, birds, bats); and it is very unlikely that there is a common DNA sequence that specifies how to manufacture a wing. The connections between the nerve cells comprising the human brain represent much more information than can possibly be encoded in human DNA. A caterpillar has the same DNA as the butterfly it eventually becomes. Ergo, something more than DNA must be involved. [This observation does seem simplistic, because DNA could, in principle, code for metamorphosis.] Like DNA, this "something more" passing from parent to offspring conveys information on the biochemical level. This aspect of heredity has been by-passed as geneticists have focussed on the genes. Cohen and Stewart summarize their views as follows: "What we have been saying is that DNA space is not a map of creature space. There is no unique correspondence between the two spaces, no way to assign to each sequence in DNA space a unique animal that it "codes for." Biological development is a complicated transaction between the DNA "program" and its host ...
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... animal kingdom as estimated from adult characters doesn't fir very well with that estimated from larvae. Such a discrepancy for different stages has occasionally been reported within families of insects, and it has an apparent resemblance to the discordance occasionally found between phylogenies inferred from morphological and molecular characters. In such cases, the usual conclusion (I ignore data chauvinists) is that we should somehow use all the available information to infer the correct phylogeny. After all, there was just one real phylogeny that occurred in the past, and we want to find it as closely as we can." Comment inserted by the compiler. Van Valen is saying that three evolutionary Trees of Life can be drawn from adult morphology, DNA structure, and larval morphology, and that they may not look the same. Caterpillars may yield a family tree different from that inferred from the butterflies. Which is correct, or are they all correct? Back to the review. Waxing heretical, Williamson points out that an organism may have more than one phylogeny ! Larvae may have ancestries different from the adults. How heretical can one get? But in the ocean, spermatozoa often cannot find an egg of the correct species. They may then fertilize eggs of a distantly related species. In such "wide hybrids," the larvae may resemble one parent and the adults the other. There is much more. The gist of it all is that evolution has been much more than random mutation and natural selection. Hybridization and outright mergers (endosymbiosis) have played important roles. Even our own cells harbor mitochondria that have ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 13  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf100/sf100b04.htm

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