OH before I go to bed I should convey to you all the weirdest fact I learned today
I learned that when a caterpillar is metamorphosing into a butterfly within the cocoon, it is not, as I previously assumed, slowly growing wings and little antennae and whatever else. If we open a cocoon, apparently what we find is that the caterpillar has actually dissolved into a shapeless goo, from which the butterfly will be formed.
From which the butterfly is formed.
You can, of course, go the philosophical route with this: are they, then, the same creature, pre- and post- this complete reconstitution of the self? If the very brain, the nervous system, has been completely reassembled, how do we identify this as in any way the same?
So here’s the kicker.
Apparently one scientist figured he’d test this out by training a bunch of caterpillars to react negatively to a specific scent, which they would normally not react negatively to. This was all done prior to the cocoon stage.
And these butterflies. These post-goo, completely remade selves? They reacted negatively to the scent, too.
It’s really interesting that birds so commonly make their nests right up next to people’s houses. You’d think they’d be frightened to leave their children so close to humans. But if you think about it we typically leave their nests untouched and don’t prey on baby birds. It might be a form of symbiosis where most predators are scared to approach human homes and the babies are actually safer.