Entomologist backtracks on claims of insects on Mars

Shane McGlaun - Nov 22, 2019, 6:58 am CST
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Entomologist backtracks on claims of insects on Mars

Earlier this week, an entomologist from Ohio University called William Romoser, came forward with claims that had a lot of people scratching their heads. Romoser said he had been pouring through images of the surface of Mars taken over the years and had found evidence in them that insects were living on the planet.

The backlash against Romoser’s claim was swift and harsh. Even NASA said that it had no evidence to back up Romoser’s findings. The noted entomologist has since backed away from his claims, and Ohio University has stated that he no longer wants to engage with the media on the subject. The university has pulled the press release where Romoser made those claims. Our original story still has photos taken from that press release.

Along with pulling the press release from the university website, the release was removed from other sites, such as EurekaAlert. Once something is online, you can never really remove it. Biology professor David Maddison from Oregon State University disagreed with Romoser’s findings. Maddison stated that what Romoser was seeing could be an example of pareidolia that leads people to see patterns in random stimuli.

Maddison noted that he had pareidolia with respect to insects, beetles in particular from decades of collecting them around the world. Maddison went so far as to call the images in the press release that Romoser put out “entirely unconvincing.” NASA said it had no scientific data to back up the claims noting that there was insufficient oxygen on Mars to support such life. It’s unclear if there will be any ramifications for Romoser in relation to his claim.


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