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Unread October 29th, 2005, 05:53 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia area
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Default Paleopsych: Halloween and What Bugs You

I flipped through a National Geographic and found a page of insect faces.

I saw in them the masks we often buy at Halloween: strong contrast in colors, lots of high intensity hues, and patterns that should lead to nightmares. It might be that insects make themselves appear scary to other insects. Or that insects grow patterns that will be obvious to another insect who has a similar pattern and is loaded with gametes. Or that the vivid quality of colors somehow predicts the courage and longevity of their children.

It may also be that we humans carry the same sensory organizations as the insects and have done so for about 350 my! I wonder if our cousins, the dolphins and whales would buy the same masks that we do in late October.*

*Carl Sagan had a similar idea when he wrote "A Demon-Haunted World." That is, he described the similarities in appearances and plots when he compared cases of demonic possession and stores of capture by space aliens. Big heads, sharp teeth, spindly limbs...all variations on a wasp or grasshopper or ET!

References:
Sagan, C. (1995). The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. NY: Random House.
Sagan, C., & Druyan, A. (1992) Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. New York: Random House (one of the most beautiful books I ever read and with an impact on me second only to that from Loren Eiseley).

Copyright, 2005, James Brody, all rights reserved.

Last edited by James Brody; November 6th, 2005 at 12:56 PM.
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