crop circles and wallabies
- In my archaeology and biological anthropoplogy courses I cover how scientists evaluate competing hypotheses, including the notion that it simply is not valid to accept one hypothesis by merely rejecting the others, using crop circles as an example.
Whenever a news story about crop circles appears, it seem like the crop circle experts always explain them (the crop circles) as being related to aliens. When reading the story it invariably goes like...."We have ruled out wind (hypothesis 1), a hoax (hypothesis 2), electro-magnetic activity generated by the earth (hypothesis 3), and earthworms (hypothesis 4). Therefore they were created by aliens." That is such faulty logic, but it is also very common.
I was very pleased to see another story on crop circles today. It comes out of Australia, where Reuters reports the mystery of the crop circles, at least those in poppy fields, as been solved. According to the story "stoned wallabies are eating the poppy heads and hopping around in circles." Accoding to the one "We have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting high as a kite and going around in circles. Then they crash. We see crop circles...from wallabies that are high.
Other animals have also been observed to "act weird", including deer and sheep. One poppy producer reports that after the poppy harvest, they (meaning the sheep) all walk around in circles.
I am adding this explanation to my discussions of bad science, and interesting archaeology.
In my recently completed archaeological project, where we found some evidence of late 19th and early 20th century opium use and an early 21st century marijauna growing operation at the same site, we also found two dead squirrels nearby. I wonder if the drugs, dead squirrels, and unusual features are related. Not really.