Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

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Scientists puzzled by insects not evolving into adults; source identified as paper towels!

Interesting article found serendipitously through Wikipedia:

http://www.pnas.org/content/54/2/411.full.pdf

Scientists raised firebugs in Prague, then tried to continue their work in the US but found that the insects did not evolve from their larval to their adult form as expected; instead, they turned into still bigger larva or into adults with some larval characteristics.

The influence turned out to be… the paper towels in the jars where the insects were raised! More specifically, the fact that US paper products are often made from balsam fir, which contains a chemical with hormonal properties on those firebugs.

Fascinating stuff.

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