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Hope, laughter and loss in this wretched time of coronavirus

Matthew Cobb on finding hope in insect metamorphosis, Sue Smith on how Grace Dent and other female Guardian writers are offering solace and Linda Seymour on the sadness of lockdown. Plus Catherine Howard has an important question on marmaladeCoronavirus - latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIn her uplifting long read ('The impossible has already happened': what coronavirus can teach us about hope, 7 April), Rebecca Solnit offers as a sign of hope the claim that caterpillars, when they pupate, effectively dissolve before turning into butterflies. Sadly, the claim is untrue. In caterpillars, partially formed adult structures - wings, antennae, legs - can be seen clearly before pupation, if the animal is dissected. This was demonstrated as early as 1665 by the Dutch entomologist Jan Swammerdam, and was decisive in convincing thinkers that the caterpillar and the butterfly are the same organism, rather than the butterfly emerging from the decay of a dead caterpillar. However, other insects do indeed show the mysterious metamorphosis Solnit describes - flies. In maggots, the future adult fly organs are merely tiny patches of tissue; they are assembled into their adult forms in the pupa in ways that are still the subject of scientific investigation. If there is hope to be found in insect metamorphosis, it comes from flies.Prof Matthew CobbSchool of biological sciences, University of Manchester Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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