|Magicicada: Wikipedia/Bruce Marlin|
After 17 years and when the temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit, they burrow up from the ground in huge numbers to wreak vengeance upon the living. All right, so the part about vengeance is exaggerated, but it does sound like a kind of science fiction or horror movie device, what with waiting for the right time, temperature and all. It is eminently logical to see that they are the product of a Master Designer, but people foolishly give undue credit to evolution.
Entomologists study insects and spiders. They regularly discover examples of mathematical genius hardwired into various tiny-brained arthropods. And as young students know all too well, math doesn't come easy.
Science writer Seth Borenstein recently wrote an AP article describing why residents of the United States' east coast anticipate an impending insect invasion—at least in rural areas. This spring marks 17 years since a particular brood of a unique kind of red-eyed cicada, called "magicicada," last emerged en masse. And yes, the name reflects the way these insects seem to "magically" appear at the same time after 17 years of living underground as larvae. When the ground temperature reaches precisely 64 degrees, magicicadas in "Brood II" will tunnel upward, crawl up the side of a nearby tree or structure, squeeze out of their molted exoskeletons and then fly around each in search of a mate.
When Brood II emerges together, some estimate they will number up to a trillion cicadas. Of course, their onboard precision-computing equipment makes this all possible. Some kind of internal miniscule chronometer precisely measures the passage of years, and a tiny thermometer monitors the soil temperature. These nifty devices would be useless unless they had the ability to communicate—according to appropriately engineered software—with a central processor. Only then can the organism attach meaning to the data input, and act accordingly.To finish reading, you can fly over to "Cicadas Make Great Mathematicians".