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No. 109: Jan-Feb 1997

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Biology Lite

A coughing tree

"The New Zealand Herald reported that hundreds of people are flocking off to a 3,400-year-old maidenhair tree southeast of Beijing, China, to hear the tree make a coughing sound at night. According to the Beijing Evening News, the tree makes the unusual sound several times during the night and resembles an old man coughing.
"The tree is nearly 83 feet (25 m) high and nearly 50 feet (15 m) in circumference and is regarded as a living fossil. As many as 1,000 people at a time have visited the tree to witness the phenomenon since it was first reported April 5th. Speculation abounds as to what causes the coughing sound at night, but no reasonable explanation has yet been presented."

(Anonymous; "Coughing Tree Attracts Hundreds," World Explorer, 1:6, no. 8, 1996)

Synchronicity and death. In category BHF35 in Humans II, we cataloged several cases where identical twins died almost simultaneously. We can add the following to that collection:

"Identical twins John and William Bloomfield lived their entire 61 years together in Australia and died only minutes apart, on Sunday. Both John and William suffered heart attacks."

(Anonymous; "Twins Die," Saginaw News, May 22, 1996. Cr. B. Kingsley via COUD-I.)

Reference. For more on the book: Biological Anomalies: Humans II, visit here.

Crow woes.

"YOKOHAMA -- Crows are being blamed for placing small stones on train tracks, which obstructed JR East train service on at least five occasions this month in Kanagawa Prefecture, prefectural police said.
"The evidence was provided by an office worker who took a photograph of a crow placing small stones on a train track in Yokohama early Saturday morning."


"When police learned about the stone-toting crow, they aimed a video camera at the tracks, Sunday and Monday, and discovered several crows carrying small stones between 3 to 10 centimeters in diameter in their beaks and laying them on the rails.

"On June 8 and 19, police found crow prints in the area.
"Kanagawa police said that recently there have been 21 incidents in which stones were found on train tracks."

These crows (actually Jungle Crows) are known to drop stones on the roofs of houses, apparently because they like to hear the sounds of impact. Perhaps they also enjoy the crunching sounds as trains run over the stones they place on the rails!

(Anonymous; "Fun for Crows Equals Woe for Railroads," Mainichi Daily News (Tokyo), June 28, 1996. Cr. N. Masuya)

From Science Frontiers #109, JAN-FEB 1997. � 1997-2000 William R. Corliss