Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
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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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Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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Search results for: beetles

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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 The bombardier beetle pulse-jet Creationists have long pointed to the bombardier beetle's jet-like defensive spray mechanism as a device that could not have evolved in many small steps. It must be complete and perfect to work at all. New high-speed photos and related research demonstrate that: "The ejection system of the beetle shows basic similarity to the pulse jet propulsion mechanism of the German V-1 'buzz' bomb of World War II." What the beetle has "evolved" is an intermittent explosive process that fires about 500 pulses per second. The explosive energy comes from the mixing of two separate fluids (hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide with oxidative enzymes). (Dean, Jeffrey, et al; "Defensive Spray of the Bombardier Beetle: A Biological Pulse Jet," Science, 248:1219, 1990.) Comment. The fundamental question is, of course, how can many, small, random mutations contribute to the development of the mechanisms of the pulse jet, its two fuels, the pumps, the fuel reservoirs, the control system, etc., when only the complete, perfected system has survival value. Although creationists argue that the theories of evolution and natural section are unconvincing here; it is still possible that atheistic factors still beyond our ken are operating, and that what we really need is a better theory of evolution. From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 14: Winter 1981 Supplement Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Beetles Make Scents Termite nests frequently host foreign species that seem to be accepted as fellow termites. Can't termites recognize the invaders? The authors believe that termites probably recognize one another by specific hydrocarbon labels synthesized on their cuticles. If the alien species were to be somehow marked with similar chemical identifiers, the blind termites might not know the difference. Howard et al think this may be the case with a species of beetle often found integrated into termite society. By chemi-cally analyzing beetle and termite cuticles, they have found both wearing the same hydrocarbon labels. Furthermore, the beetles synthesize their own chemical masks. This is an astounding instance of parallel or convergent evolution between remotely related species. (Howard, R.W . et al, "Chemical Mimicry as an Integrating Mechanism....," Science, 210:431, 1980.) Comment. Synthesizing exactly the right hydrocarbons was certainly a great stroke of good fortune for the beetles! From Science Frontiers #14, Winter 1981 . 1981-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 81: May-Jun 1992 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Eusocial Beetles The best-known eusocial animals are the ants, termites, and naked mole rats. As As biological observations accumulate, the phenomenon is being found elsewhere in the animal kingdom. The following quotation extends eusociality to the beetles and (in case you wondered) defines "eusociality": "The weevil Austroplatypus incompertus lives in galleries in the heartwood of Eucalyptus trees. Colonies are initiated by solitary fertilized females and, when mature, manifest the three phenomena which characterize eusociality: overlapping generations, cooperative brood care and division into reproductive and sterile (unfertilized) castes. Each colony contains one fertilized and five or so unfertilized adult females, the job of the second group being to deal with predators and to extend and maintain the galleries." (Anonymous; "Sociable Beetles," Nature, 356:111, 1992.) Comment. Eusociality is somewhat of a puzzle in evolutionary theory because one must ask how the phenomenon arises, when it requires some individuals to forswear reproduction and thus give up the chance to pass their genes directly on to progeny. Explanations of such extreme altruism generally state that the nonbreeders are really helping to pass some (or even all) of their genes on by supporting the colony, for they are usually closely related to the breeding female. From Science Frontiers #81, MAY-JUN 1992 . 1992-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... How can this be? Plant leaves, it turns out, contain color sensors -- light-sensitive pigments similar to those it the human retina. Obviously, the plants do not "see," but the pigments provide environmental information. Here's the mechanism: plant leaves reflect infrared light well, so when a tomato plant's pigments detect a lot of infrared, the plant "thinks" that it may be crowded out by competing vegetation. The tomato plant responds aggressively by growing more rapidly. The red plastic mulch between the rows also reflects a lot of infrared light, and it thereby tricks the tomato plant into accelerating its growth. (Raloff, Janet; "When Tomatoes See Red," Science News, 152:376, 1997.) Fire-detecting beetles. The beetle Melanophila acuminata seeks out forests that have just been ravaged by fires so that it can lay its eggs in the nutritious, freshly burnt wood. These insects are capable of detecting fires up to 32 kilometers (20 miles) distant. They do not see the fire with their eyes but instead detect the thermal (infrared) radiation with a special organ on their chests. (Schmitz, Helmut, et al; "Infrared Detection in a Beetle," Nature, 386:773, 1997.) Knees "see". Well, sort of, and then only the backs of the knees. Human circadian clocks can be shifted by shining visible light on the skin on the backs of the knees. It is theorized that the light penetrates the skin and causes chemical ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Florida's circular canals GREAT ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS IN AMAZONIA? RIDICULOUS! The sweet track Another anomaly bites the dust Astronomy Modern technology gets Two hot spots on mercury Astronomers cope with both Biology NATURE COMMUNICATES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS Those amazing insects The bombardier beetle pulse-jet Duesberg revisited Geology Pennsylvanian time-scale problems OF TIME AND THE CORAL - AND OTHER THINGS, TOO Paleomagnetic pitfalls What's another dipole or two? Wyoming: a periodic spring WYOMING: IS OLD FAITHFUL A STRANGE ATTRACTOR? Geophysics Ball lightning studies LUNAR ECLIPSES AND RADIO PROPAGATION General Novel forms of matter ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 81: May-Jun 1992 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology LONG BEFORE THE VIKINGS AND POLYNESIANS BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR TWO VERY EARLY NEW WORLD CONTACTS Computer confirms crossing! The latte stones Astronomy Galaxy spins wrong way That's the way the universe bounces Indigestible supernova leftovers Biology More mouse engineering Plants of the apes Rhythms in rhythm Shc or h/t homicide? Eusocial beetles Geophysics Rayed ball lightning hits plane Auroral sounds Unidentified light explained? Four luminous spinning vortices Psychology The tyranny of the [normal] senses Folie a deux involving a dog! Chemistry & Physics MUTANT MOLECULES FIGHT FOR FOR SURVIVAL Deep-sixing 666s ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 14: Winter 1981 Supplement Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology The China Syndrome in Archeology Ancient Camp Found 40 Feet Below Colorado Surface Astronomy Venus: Highly Radioactive Or Just Cooling Down? Radial Spokes in Saturn's Rings There's More Than Gold in the Kolar Mines Biology Beetles Make Scents Eyes of Deep-sea Fish Have Spare Parts Worms with Inside-out Stomachs Geophysics More Phosphorescent Boomerangs Do Lightning Channels Accelerate Matter? The Most Identical of Identical Twins Does the Moon Really Faze People? Psychology Innate Knowledge ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 100: Jul-Aug 1995 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Anomalous Larvae And The Burning Of Heretics Adult and larval stages of a stag beetle. Could these radically different forms of the same species have had separate and different evolutionary histories? Our title comes from L. Van Valen's review of a book by D.I . Williamson entitled Larvae and Evolution: Toward a New Biology . We can only touch upon a few of the many profound anomalies raised by the book. We begin with a paragraph from Van Valen's review: "Williamson has given us a new set of anomalies. Mostly he does this by showing that what we know doesn't fit together as well as we thought it did. In particular, the major phylogeny of the 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, ...
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... help to alter the history of Australia -- to prove that, 3,000 years ago, joint Egyptian and Phoenician mineral-seeking expeditions established mining colonies here." Thus runs the lead paragraph of an article in a popular Australian publication. This purported pyramid boasts 18 recognizable terraces. The bottom 14 terraces are built from rather small stones; but the top four consist of slabs weighing up to 2 tons. Trees as old as 600 years poke up through the stones, attesting to a pre-European origin. Another much larger pyramid inhabits dense scrubland near Sydney. The claim that these admittedly crude structures are Egyptian is based upon the discovery of artifacts in the area with Egyptian and Phoenician characteristics; i.e ., a stone idol resembling a squatting ape, an onxy scarab beetle, and cave paintings with Egyptian symbols. Aborigine legends also tell of "culture heros" arriving at Gympie in large ships shaped like birds. (Gilroy, Rex; "Pyramids of Australia," Australasian Post, August 30, 1984. Cr. A. Jones.) Comments. Professional archeologists are very wary of anything R. Gilroy claims. Further, our Australian readers warn that Australian newspapers are not always as skeptical as they should be about radical claims. Underside of a stone scarab dug up in an Australian cane field (From Ancient Man) From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985 . 1985-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... May-Jun 1995 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Biological precursors of the 1995 kobe earthquake The Japanese are meticulous observers of animals. Many keep birds, insects, fish, etc. as pets. When scientists at the Osaka City University asked for reports of unusual animal behavior around the time of the great January 17 quake, over 1,200 people in the Kobe-Osaka area came forth with anecdotes. Some typical pre-quake observations were: Doves flying into walls. Caged birds (Chinese hawk-cuckoos) flying against the sides of their cages. Fish rising to the surface in great numbers. At the port of Shioya, "millions" of gizzard shad turned the surface of the water into silver. Captive stag beetles and turtles emerging from hibernation. And strangest of all, silkworms and fish in ponds orienting themselves in the same directions. (Minami, Shigehiko; "Creatures Went a Bit Batty, Maybe Knew Quake Was Coming," Asahi Evening News, February 25, 1995. Cr. N. Masuya) Cross reference. Many luminous phenomena were also seen. For descriptions of so-called "earthquake lights" refer to GLD8 in our catalog Lightning, Auroras, etc. It is listed here . From Science Frontiers #99, MAY-JUN 1995 . 1995-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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