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Nature & You: Half-a-century class reunion brings introspection and review

Have you ever been told bumblebees can't fly? [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Have you ever been told bumblebees can't fly? [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Half-a-century class reunion brings introspection

I am somewhat in dread of next year's prospects, what with it being the 50-year anniversary of my graduation from high school. There is nothing that quite caps off a feeling of impending senility like a half-a-century passage of time since completion of a high school education.

One effect, however, of this retrospection is that it gives me pause to consider what I was taught in those far-off years and of how those facts have fared since the elapse of so long a span of calendar revolutions.

I have given some thought to my memory of the contents of my high school science class. For some odd reason, I can still clearly remember the instructor admonishing us with the statement that bumblebees can fly — but do so only in the face of those facts that are espoused by the most keen observation and analysis of those scientists to whom such studies are relegated.

How could this be? Science is adept at accurately describing the world around us. How can bumblebee flight be a thing of impossibility and lack of rational thought?

That was then.

This is now.

This whole "bumblebees can't fly" thing has been tossed in the dust bin. Come to find out, it was a story that was told and retold so many times that people came to accept it as fact. In truth, scientists full well understand the mechanics of bumblebee flight.

Mark my words, however; old fables die hard and chances are good that you will still hear people making this common belief statement even now in today's enlightened age.

Go figure!

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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