Back in the 1920s when, as the Scopes Trial showed, no Official Smart PersonTM questioned Darwinism, a scientist came across a curious phenomenon: Beetle eggs, stacked Of course he knew what to make of it.
“The discovery of the beetle laying eggs on top of each other is not a novel discovery,” said Deas. “But they thought it’s a way to compete: That the beetles are stacking eggs on top of other beetles’ eggs to crush them. They didn’t actually do any lab experiments to prove that those eggs are from exactly the same female.”
In the 1970s, another researcher did the same thing. Joseph Deas, University of Arizona Entomology, decided to quit telling Darwin legends and find out whether it was true that the eggs on top were laid by a competitor beetle.
They weren’t. All the eggs in a stack were laid by the same beetle. Stacked, the clutch was better protected from a parasitic wasp that kills beetle larvae by laying its own larvae inside them:
Deas measured the parasitism on eggs laid individually versus on bottom eggs in a stack to see whether having one or more eggs on top was sufficient to protect the bottom eggs. And sure enough, Deas found the individual eggs were parasitized much more frequently than those eggs that were shielded at the bottom of a stack
As often happens in science, Deas came upon the discovery of M. amicus’ strategy through the course of a different investigation.
It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.
Most investigators, faced with either doing science or announcing Darwin’s truths, will settle for announcing Darwin’s truths. It’s easier and safer and, in a journal article, it will look like science to the rest of us.
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