if insects are artists


While compiling images for a guidebook to invertebrates and their tracks, Western Massachusetts-based biologist Noah Charney began entertaining an unscientific notion. Looking at the complicated patterns created by bees as they excised circular patches from leaves, the delicate arrangement of tiny hatchmarks made by a slug chewing its way across an algae-covered branch, or the radiating paths marking the progress of beetles through the bark of a fallen log, he made an observation: it looked like the bugs were making art. We’re often helpless (even those of us, like Charney, with a master’s degree in biology) against a tendency to anthropomorphize nature: we’re forever seeing rock formations that look like faces, or animal behaviors that remind us of our own. Suspending his disbelief, Charney put together an online gallery of photos devoted to the question of invertebrate aesthetics. The question was, if insects are artists, what kind of artists are they?

more from Roger White at the Boston Globe here.