Dear Cryptozoology news,
I’m a daily reader of your website and have an opinion I wish to share with you regarding a possible identity of at least some UFOs. You have featured an excellent article of a 32-year-old doctor who witnessed a giant insect attach itself to the window of a passenger plane at 30,000 ft.
The account is so good with a dependable witness, allegedly along with ten others on the flight who saw it, made me think that he really did see what he says he did. There was also another similar detailed sighting from a truck driver.
The mainstream opinion is that it’s impossible for insects to grow to this gigantic size in our current oxygen level of around 21%. The reason is due to the number of trachea tubes required. These are dead-end tubes were gas exchange takes place; oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is released. The number of trachea tubes needed for ‘breathing’ increases dramatically with an increase in body size. This therefore puts a limit on how big they can grow. Fossils of giant dragonflies have been found and dated to 300 million years ago when the oxygen levels were deduced to be as high as 35%.
The only way for these two excellent eyewitness accounts to be true, is if a species of flying insect has evolved an improved oxygen uptake mechanism. This would then reduce the number of trachea tubes required for ‘breathing’ and allow an increase in body size. I managed to think of two possible mechanisms. I sent an email to the ‘Ask A Biologist’ website service and got a very positive response from an insect expert. The suggestion I made was a one-way breathing mechanism. By using valves, one trachea tube could be used for inspiration, the intake of oxygen and another tube for expiration, the exhale of carbon dioxide. Currently, insects use the same trachea tube for both inspiration and expiration. The one-way system would be much more efficient. A giant flying insect could therefore exist in today’s oxygen levels. The two eyewitness accounts are plausible.
The second mechanism I thought of relates to the red veins seen in the wings by the doctor in the passenger plane as well as cattle mutilations. A giant insect could use mammal blood as a more efficient carrier of oxygen compared to normal insect ‘blood’. This again would increase their oxygen uptake ability.
The issue of how a giant insect could manage to fly at the speed of a jet plane can also be resolved. The trachea tubes have muscles. If the trachea tubes expel waste air all in one direction, then a force of propulsion is induced. The muscle contraction could be at such a high rate that they keep the giant insect from freezing at such high altitudes as well giving it it’s own jet-propulsion.
The other details of the encounters also hint at a UFO identity. Before the insect hit the window, the doctor suffered from an uncomfortable sensation like a panic attack and noticed others acting strangely too. Crucially he states “It felt as if time had stopped, I don’t know how to explain it.” This is an all too common occurrence of UFO encounters, the so called ‘lost time’ effect.
All that is required for a complete UFO identification is that the giant insects have also evolved bioluminescence. This is something that is achieved by thousands of deep sea creatures and so is evidently within the realms of possibility.
The giant insect hypothesis should be considered as just as likely or even a likelier candidate than E.T. for UFOs and cattle mutilations in my opinion.
Here’s the main part of the email I received about the one-way trachea tube possibility:
Very interesting question! I work as an insect
taxonomist and I stare at lots of different
insects all day long. I would hold almost nothing
back from what insects are theoretically able to
do. There is so much diversity not only in shape
and color, but resource exploitation and complex
morphology. It is certainly theoretically possible,
and so many species remain to be described that
perhaps we will one day find one that has done just that.
In general, thoracic and abdominal segments are contracted in one
movement along the same plane – that is the two
opposing plates are pulled together equally, not
only along the left side or the right. Plenty of
insects have, however, developed mechanisms to
close spiracles (scarab beetles are good at this)
so certainly it could be possible to close, say,
the left spiracles, expand the body cavity to
pull in air through the right, switch spiracles
and contract to ‘blow’ air out of the left.
In the end, insects have been very successful
with their passive respiration mechanisms, and
can be found in very oxygen-poor environments
(including oxygen-poor water), so I am not sure
there is really a strong pressure for them to
change. But I would definitely NOT say it is
impossible for it to develop, just unlikely and
improbable. Hopefully that somewhat answers your question!
All the best,
Andrew Johnston (answering for Ask A Biologist)
PhD Student, Evolutionary Biology
Arizona State University
Continue the good work with Crytpozoology News.
*This is a reader's opinion. Articles written by our readers don't necessarily reflect the views of Cryptozoology News. Want to send yours? Click on the "Opinion" button located at the top of the website.
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