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Good fences make good neighbors
September 6, 2013 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Something or someone is building tiny towers and fences in the Peruvian Amazon. And nobody knows who, or what they are, or why they're being built.
posted by kinnakeet (64 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
TINY SPACEMENS

surely
posted by elizardbits at 12:27 PM on September 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


As this was the Daily Mail reporting, I was surprised not to hear they caused cancer.

Probably in the followup.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:27 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tree-D printer
posted by ian1977 at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2013 [20 favorites]


little bitty tiny corrals for spider riding ants.

gotta be that
posted by ShawnString at 12:29 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


No one knows who they were or what they were doing, but their legacy remains.
posted by jbickers at 12:30 PM on September 6, 2013 [21 favorites]


Turns out Cthulhu is .5 cm high, still very scary tho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2013 [25 favorites]


Eentsy weentsy maypole dancers.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


If this had been posted as a question in Ask-MeFi it would be answered by now.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


L'il Old Ones

Still horrifying, but tinier than anybody expected.

Dang it, Potomac.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Daily Mail's science reporting is par excellence, as usual.
posted by planetesimal at 12:34 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Daily Mail's science reporting is par excellence, as usual.

Could these be the remnants of tiny Gypsy circuses?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:36 PM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's the Wired story on this from a couple of days ago. With more details.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:37 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are there not eggs in the middle of the thing? Presumably someone should fish them out and do a DNA sequence.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Viral ad for Pikmin 3.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:42 PM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


oh the need for image tags for the History channel "Aliens" guy/meme..
posted by k5.user at 12:44 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wifi hotspots.
posted by Kabanos at 12:46 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Satellite dishes of the IMF*

*Interplanetary Moth Federation
posted by islander at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2013


Is this going to be one of those stories where in six months a scientist decides to ask someone who actually lives in the area, and the mystery is solved?
posted by Quonab at 12:52 PM on September 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


IANAM (I am not a mycologist), but couldn't it be fungus or mushrooms of some kind?
posted by spacewaitress at 12:55 PM on September 6, 2013


IANAM (I am not a mycologist), but couldn't it be fungus or mushrooms of some kind?

That was my thought, too; OTOH, you'd think that would be a relatively easy theory to check.
posted by yoink at 12:58 PM on September 6, 2013


My first thought was that these were human sized and it took me a good three to four seconds to figure out that first picture. I thought "Why didn't they flip the photo? Why are they posting something on the ground as sideways?"
posted by lstanley at 12:58 PM on September 6, 2013


I find most unknown scientific phenomena can be explained by attributing it to fairies of some kind. This one's even easier than usual.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Stone'enge!
posted by The Deej at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever it is, it now knows we exist.

And there is a good chance it's living in your attic.

Sweet dreams.
posted by quin at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to say it's a spider, not a moth. (IANAEntomologist, just guessing.) The tower is some kind of lure for the appropriate prey. The fence helps keep the prey from escaping.

couldn't it be fungus or mushrooms of some kind?

I think the fact one of them is attached to the underside of a blue tarp pretty much rules out fungi.
posted by beagle at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2013


Stone'enge!

"It clearly says centimeters. If you had meant meters, you should have written meters."
posted by The Bellman at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


You've seen Phase IV, right? Clearly this is Phase V.
posted by otherthings_ at 1:29 PM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Alpha Beta Kappa is behind this, I just know it. I'm telling the dean!
posted by Gin and Comics at 1:31 PM on September 6, 2013


Something or someone is building tiny towers and fences in the Peruvian Amazon. And nobody knows who, or what they are, or why they're being built.

Jesus, common sense (and the scientists interviewed by Wired) says that it's a friggin' insect. To say "nobody knows what insect" is hardly front page news, but to say nobody knows "who they are" is about as a braindead thing to say as anything.

Reading that Daily Mail article hurt my brain. There weren't even pictures of celebs in bikinis!
posted by KokuRyu at 1:44 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm going to say it's a spider

I don't think it's a spider. I saw a report where they asked William Eberhard (who is one of the top spider guys on the planet) and he had no idea.
posted by dhruva at 2:02 PM on September 6, 2013


The answer is clear
posted by fallingbadgers at 2:08 PM on September 6, 2013


Reading that Daily Mail article hurt my brain. There weren't even pictures of celebs in bikinis!

Aha! That's what it is. A nonrepresentational bikini!
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:14 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gin and Comics: "Alpha Beta Kappa is behind this, I just know it. I'm telling the dean!"

Nope. Can't be. They are on Triple Secret Probation after that prank with the exploding pig and NSA.
posted by Samizdata at 2:14 PM on September 6, 2013


I for one welcome our new unknown overlords.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:15 PM on September 6, 2013


I did a Google search for visually similar images and was directed to (a) Taylor Swift and (b) a small dog.

Make of that what you will.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:18 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something or someone

I prefer the "someone" interpretation. There are people running around the forest building these. And then selling them on Etsy.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:21 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good fences make good neighbors

Tiny fences make tiny neighbors?
posted by ersatz at 2:28 PM on September 6, 2013


Doozers.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:37 PM on September 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


I originally thought it was a slime mold in fruiting body mode (they don't care if there's nothing to eat when in that mode), but there are filaments from the toop of the "spire" down to the "fence", which indicates this was spun by a silk-laying animal of some kind, likely a moth.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:40 PM on September 6, 2013


Reading that Daily Mail article hurt my brain. There weren't even pictures of celebs in bikinis!

You're not trying very hard if you couldn't find a Daily Mail picture of a celeb in a bikini. Check the sidebar!
posted by jokeefe at 2:50 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now there are two. There are two _______.: Aha! That's what it is. A nonrepresentational bikini!

Callout due to brilliance.
posted by JHarris at 2:51 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slap*Happy: "I originally thought it was a slime mold in fruiting body mode"

Oooh, it's that neck-burster thing from X-Files "Firewalker"?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:11 PM on September 6, 2013


And now, the weather.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:37 PM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


It is a directional antenna.
posted by CrowGoat at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2013


The opioid-phagic tiny aliens from Liquid Sky have found the motherlode and now they're colonizing.
posted by localroger at 3:51 PM on September 6, 2013


Tree herpes.
posted by planetesimal at 3:59 PM on September 6, 2013


By the time the humans discovered our true purpose, it was too late.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:00 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pepsi white! This is clearly an ARG for The Last Of Us 2.
posted by Drexen at 4:10 PM on September 6, 2013


> It is a directional antenna.

yup, Wullenweber
[really nope, though; elephant cage antennas don't have a spire in the middle]

I think this is one, down the road from me.
posted by morganw at 4:25 PM on September 6, 2013


The tiny demon from that episode of Buffy.
posted by rtha at 4:26 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


L'il Old Ones

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu tiny little silk-henge wgah'nagl fhtagn.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:43 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It reminds me of Harold Edgerton's milk drop photos.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:21 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know who built these. I won't tell but let's just say I'll get that tiny bastard.
posted by rainy at 5:24 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Taters.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:59 PM on September 6, 2013


Oh, Jesus, tricked into clicking on a Daily Mail link.
posted by e40 at 6:36 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


TINY SPACEMENS

Reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode: 'The Invaders' (condensed version).
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:34 PM on September 6, 2013


Reminded me of John Wyndham's "Meteor".
posted by Mezentian at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2013


Very cool! I listened to an interview with the guy who discovered these just this morning. Much cooler than they sounded.
posted by peppermind at 9:29 PM on September 6, 2013


WHAT IS THIS? A STONEHENGE FOR ANTS!?

How are we supposed to teach children to worship Caelus if they can't even fit in the temple?
posted by axiom at 9:29 PM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, that was disappointing. I was hoping for a tiny little art project with someone leaving tiny little picket fences everywhere. Kind of like a miniaturized Leave-it-to-beaver Christo. Or the tiniest hipsters ever doing an extended Burning Man riff in the jungle.

Actually, no, this is also really cool. Life will find a way. A way to put up a tiny circus tent, apparently. But that's a way.
posted by stet at 10:49 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Probably viral marketing for the Hobbit. Miniature Isengards in the Amazon...ants, ents...spiders of Mirkwood. Peter Jackson is obviously behind this.
posted by burntbook at 10:52 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I was hoping for a tiny little art project with someone leaving tiny little picket fences everywhere

I had a similar thought when seeing the post title, and then thought that maybe there was a theory that someone was making these from harvested and cut up egg sacs and sticking them up just to mess with biologists.
posted by planetesimal at 10:55 PM on September 6, 2013


I mean, this is the Amazon. You can't walk thirty yards without treading on a hundred species unknown to science.
posted by Segundus at 11:52 PM on September 6, 2013


Spider daycare. They're just waiting for the kids to hatch.
posted by orme at 5:37 AM on September 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


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