Scientists Baffled By Mysterious Tiny Towers Spotted In Peruvian Jungle


Ever get the feeling we have no idea what’s actually going on? Via Wired Science:

Something in the Peruvian Amazon is making weird, intricate structures that resemble white picket fences surrounding an Isengard-like spire. No one has any idea who the mysterious craftsbug (fungus? spider?) is, or what the structure is even used for.

Troy Alexander, a graduate student at Georgia Tech, spotted the first of these structures on June 7. The little, seemingly woven fence was parked on the underside of a blue tarp near the Tambopata Research Center, in southeastern Peru. He later spotted three more of the bizarre enclosures on tree trunks in the jungle.

“I have no idea what made it, or even what it is,” said William Eberhard, an entomologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

“I’ve seen the photo, but have no idea what animal might be responsible,” echoed Norm Platnick, curator emeritus of spiders at the American Museum of Natural History.

“I don’t know what it is,” said arachnologist Linda Rayor, of Cornell University. “My guess is something like a lacewing, but I don’t really know.”

Suspecting that some sort of Lepidopteran (a butterfly or moth) might be responsible for the design, we’ve begun querying entomologists who specialize in these organisms. “I have no idea,” said Todd Gilligan of Colorado State University, and president of The Lepidopterists’ Society. “Some moths construct an ‘egg fence’ around eggs, using scales from the abdomen to protect the eggs,” he said. “So constructing fences around objects isn’t unheard of, but I haven’t seen anything like this before.”

34 Comments on "Scientists Baffled By Mysterious Tiny Towers Spotted In Peruvian Jungle"

  1. Cortacespedes | Sep 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

    A new NSA/CIA MKUltra program using arachnids on ayahuasca. The “towers” or communication “nipples” transmit, as well as receive.

    • “. . . arachnids on ayahuasca” has a nice ring to it.

      • Anarchy Pony | Sep 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm |

        New band name, I call it!

        • That or a really cheesy B movie. What kinda genre?

          • Anarchy Pony | Sep 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

            70’s style sexploitation/horror.

          • My bad, I did not phrase that question well. What genre for the band?

          • “70’s style sexploitation/horror” as a band genre?

            The Cramps!

          • Cortacespedes | Sep 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm |

            Man, I miss Lux Interior.

          • Yeah, me too.
            Fortunately, I got to see them a couple of times before he died.
            One of the first songs I ever learned on the guitar was Goo Goo Muck.

          • Back in the days of 300 baud, I helped run a Compuserve RockNet chat with Lux and Ivy in the early 1990s. (Back then, we called it a “Con,” short for “Conference.”)

          • Cool:)

          • The Well Dressed Man | Sep 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm |

            Saw the Cramps in the mid 90s, still one of the greatest performances in memory. Supernatural stage presence… the crowd was climbing the walls, hanging from the balconies. Lux climbed up on top of the giant PA stacks in stiletto heels and a latex catsuit for the encore of “Surfin Bird / Mama Oom Pow Pow” deep-throating the mic while chanting maniacally, and people completely lost their minds, rolling around on the floor and screaming.

          • Anarchy Pony | Sep 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

            Probably stoner rock like Phish or something.

        • Cortacespedes | Sep 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |

          Hey, no fair! I came up with it. Actually, you can have it, my new band name is “Hegemony and the Client States”.

    • Rex Vestri | Sep 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

      That reminds me of this hilarious classic…

  2. I posted one of those photos in a SubGenius forum, and our Sacred Scribe, Rev. Ivan Stang, replied:

    ‘That’s a frame from footage shot with a super-high-speed camera, an extreme slow-motion shot of “Bob’s” just-shot spunk hitting his latest mistress, a tree trunk.’

    • Cortacespedes | Sep 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

      Ivan needs to tell Dobbs to put a saline IV in his “pipe”, cause man, that spunk is looking mighty “fibrous”.

      Unless he’s going for a new kind of “spiderman” web blaster.

      • J.R. “Bob” Dobbs’ spunk is known for its high fiber content.

        I think it’s even in the recruitment literature.

        I mean, MENTIONED in the recruitment literature.

  3. Ahhh, the unknown! This is where science gets fun!

  4. For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes
    of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came
    across–which happened to be the Earth — where due to a terrible
    miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidently swallowed
    by a small dog.
    Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  5. InfvoCuernos | Sep 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

    The message is clear-“Stay off my property!” Whoever made this obviously likes their privacy and we should leave them to it.

  6. kowalityjesus | Sep 10, 2013 at 3:27 am |

    The universe that God made is absolutely burgeoning with wonders. I cannot praise you for I know of no words that would be worthy, Lord.

    • Adam's Shadow | Sep 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm |

      You know, you seem like a genuinely nice and bright person, but goddammit you ruin everything.

    • So…’s not a spider or butterfly or fungus…it’s a god?
      So, a god made this natural structure.

      Saying “god did it…thx god 4 being SO neat!!” might make some people feel cool…but it doesn’t actually answer anything.
      The moment you say “a god did it” it immediately follows with the question, “ok…but HOW did this god do it?” and you’re right back at square one, where you started.
      Assuming that an invisible cosmic being does things doesn’t help in answering actual mysteries.

      You know who I thank? People. People, like scientists, who are full of curiosity and work very very hard to illuminate mysteries with answers.
      If it wasn’t for those people, we’d be a primitive species answering every question with some superstitious paranormal answer. You are lucky to live at a time when hard working people have gifted you with knowledge your ancestors would kill to have known.

      We already went through that phase of our history, thousands of years ago. We now have the tools to progress to a higher level of understanding…so why not utilize it? Many have…and many more are catching on. Why not join humanity and help illuminate the world as well? Instead of deferring to myths that men wrote down in a book thousands of years ago….

      I have no qualm with believing in some mysterious cosmic consciousness that may or may not be the ultimate source of everything. Who knows…it might be true?

      But…….to say you KNOW such a being exists, you KNOW what this being is like, you KNOW what this being wants of you, and you KNOW this being wrote a specific book………I mean, come on. 😛
      Surely you can see how that’s insanely solipsistic and arrogant, right? You seem smart and nice…so, there’s no way you don’t see how arrogant such a stance actually is, right?

      True modesty, humility, and righteousness is admitting that it is impossible for ANY homo-sapien to know if such a being exists…let alone know what this being is like or wants. Admit that the question remains a total 100% mystery! There’s NOTHING WRONG with saying, “I don’t know.”
      First of all, it’s honest. Honesty is always the best policy. Second, admitting that you do not know is not only liberating and truthful…but it’s also emotionally poignant and deeply spiritually fulfilling.

      Facing reality head-on and realizing you DO NOT KNOW the answers to the deepest most profound questions is exhilarating. It makes life beautiful. But….pretending you know things you cannot possibly know…and pretending a particular man-made book written 2,000 years ago has ALL THE ANSWERS to the MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS in the universe is….the complete opposite of humility, modesty, honesty, and respect for both yourself and others.

      Bask in the glow of not knowing! It’s beautiful…and it means there’s work to be done. You do not know why or how this universe exists. Neither do I. No one knows. At all. Not a single person. Isn’t that amazing and wonderful!? Now we can get to work solving what we can…and being humbled by the mysteries still before us. Savor it!

      • kowalityjesus | Sep 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

        I appreciate your well-thought and composed message. It is very challenging to respond to such a statement in its entirety, but I will say that I do already positively know of the existence of God and would advise you to also behave as under His auspices as He has created you and knows every deepest thought of yours. Also in reference to my awe of His creation (insofar ad an anthropomorphized pronoun can capture His essence) I use scientific understanding to appreciate Him all the greater! How utterly, infinitely amazing that the Lord would consider such an unlikely creature when he conceived of the particles and fundamental constants of physics! I have deep appreciation for those arbiters of mystery we call scientists, though I know human knowledge is but a wisp compared with the wisdom and foresight that is incorporated in every moment and corner of existence. Therefore I resign myself to knowing enough to know that God is so great I can’t possibly praise Him ad he should be praised. Thank you for your engaging response though! As they say in the East, namaste!

        • Again, you seem cool enough…and nice.

          But, I simply cannot worship a being I don’t have any evidence even exists.

          And there’s plenty of very legitimate reasons why you think you KNOW there is this god. Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons are all AS certain as you are that THEIR god exists.
          Do you believe in Thor? Probably not.

          Well, do you lose sleep over what Thor may do to you for not believing in him? Probably not.

          I’m as worried about not obeying your god as you are about not obeying Thor, or Odin, or Zeus, or Allah, or Ganesh, etc, etc, etc.

          I will say this….even though there’s zero evidence the Bible god Yaweh exists, IF it was confirmed that this god does exist, I still would not worship it.

          For a very simple reason…to worship such a being would go against my sense of morality.

          I simply cannot and will not worship a being that allows people to be tortured for eternity for not acknowledging him.
          Some Christians say “oh no…hell isn’t like that. It’s merely a separation from God.”

          Ok…still, that’s pretty evil too. To cast out an entire group of people because they won’t worship you? What kind of god would do that? It sounds like something a human dictator would do…not a god that created everything. BUT….The Bible is clear on what happens if you reject God/Jesus. Jesus says those who reject him will be “cast out into everlasting fire.” The Bible is pretty darn clear about it. “Everlasting fire” isn’t mere separation as some Christians would like to think. They’re simply trying to make hell not sound as sadistic as the Bible actually says it is.
          This god was CLEARLY invented by human beings. It’s so utterly obvious.

          Imagine a young 14 year old girl. She’s smart, creative, and very kind. She brings love and joy into everyone who meets her. She also reads voraciously and loves learning about science. She has personally come to the conclusion that no gods exist…not any of them.

          Now, imagine a 40 year old man who kidnaps her, rapes her, tortures her, and then kills her. This man is then arrested and placed on death row. While on death row he realizes how utterly evil he behaved and he is truly sincerely 100% sorry for all he did to this girl. He cries out to Jesus for forgiveness and genuinely repents for all he did to the girl. He is truly truly sorry…and means it.

          So…both the girl and the man are now dead.

          According to your god, the man will be in heaven for eternity and the girl will be in hell. It doesn’t matter that she was moral and loving. She was very curious about the world and came to her own honest conclusion that gods don’t exist. But…ALL of her morality is ignored and instead, she is cast into hell simply for not worshiping a god.

          Now….I ask you, how on earth could you possibly chose to worship such a being? Even IF I knew such a being existed, I wouldn’t worship it, because such a god would not deserve one shred of respect. Respect must be earned…not demanded.

          God is basically doing the exact same thing as Kim Jon Ill did. He proclaims to be god…and says you MUST love and worship and obey him. He will look with favor on those who bow down to him, and he will punish those who don’t…even if they’re moral loving people.

          To worship such a being would go against every fiber of my moral compass. I would be throwing away my intellect AND my morality. ANY god that offers a reward for believing in him…and a punishment for not believing in him…is not a moral god. If something is true…that truth itself is it’s own reward.

          ANY time someone offers you a reward for believing in something, you can be 100% certain that thing is not true.

          ANY time someone threatens you with a punishment for not believing in something, you can be 100% certain that thing is not true.

          If something were actually true, there would be no need for reward or punishment. Rewards and punishments are what immoral people use to coerce people into accepting certain claims.

          Any god worth respecting would never carry about in such a way. Considering what God says in the Bible…it’s quite clear what that god’s ethic is concerning all this. And I simply will not sell out my morality because a cosmic being demands I worship him, or else…

          • kowalityjesus | Sep 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

            You raise some very interesting theological questions, the answers to which have no doubt been considered (and manipulated) for many centuries and by many great and powerful minds. St. Augustine was tortured by the question of who will go to hell and who will not. I of course will not consider myself to know the answer, hahaha!
            With reference to your hypothetical anecdote, will the man go to heaven having committed murder, though having achieved atonement? Will the innocent girl who died not knowing Christ enter into heaven? I think Jesus would rather us celebrate our vulnerability and meet God authentically, not point fingers at who is living inside and outside of grace (an absurd position for humans to judge 99.9% of the time). Perhaps we should consider the metaphor of the Egyptian myth of the dead, where a person’s heart is weighed on a scale after death: if it weighs more than a feather, made heavy by sin, his soul will be cast away. Heresy and paganism are interesting sins insofar as we can draw accumulated metaphorical wisdom from them! Simon Weil has even said that the tragedy of Christianity is that it sees itself as replacing other religions instead of adding to them!

            Jesus, though the incarnation of God, told us to “follow him” and to “worship God.” Jesus, besieged in offering us the message of who he was and what our lives mean, was not trying to start a religion. Showing us that God exists even in the unlikely state of SUFFERING, in social outcasts, and that God cannot be ego-possessed, that all of life is sacramental, Jesus was scourged! I thank all of the apostles and disciples that have carried his message to my feet! Woe! if I had never known the values that Christ has taught me, and the personality that Christ sets as our example!
            I can only feebly and infinitesimally speculate “why” Allah/Yahweh/Christ is guiding me through my path (again no doubt having evidence from my daily life that God is with me at all points, allowing my sins and judging my thoughts). I cannot profess to know the answers to your questions/challenges, though I hope my exhortations have given you a more accurate perspective on what I believe, and what I believe other Christians should seek!

  7. Saint Eli | Sep 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

    I love when scientists are baffled..

  8. atlanticus | Sep 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm |


  9. That is wonderful! There have been a few other “discoveries” of unusual animals/fish lately. We do NOT know everything as much as humans would like to believe they do.

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