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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