// ViewContent // Track key page views (ex: product page, landing page or article) fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

1892, August 13 (pre): Live Beetle found in Iron Ore

Sometime previous to August 13, 1892, when the earliest report I have of the incident was published, a Mr. Z.T. White, apparently of El Paso, Texas, was presented a sample of iron ore "discovered a considerable depth below the surface," taken recently from the Longfellow Mine in Chilton, Arizona. When the ore was fractured open, White found a beetle of dull reddish color entombed in a close fitting hole that perfectly mirrored the tiny body. Impressed with this singular find, White placed the beetle carcass in a cloth with a view to putting it in his cabinet; but on his way there, the unusual specimen became even stranger... for a smaller, and living, beetle was emerging from the body that had been entombed in the ore!

        The new beetle, except for size, looked just like the dead one it emerged from. This new beetle lived for five months, growing in size some. After the death of this new beetle, both beetle bodies and the ore they came from were put on display in the office of the El Paso Bullion, a newspaper that specialized in mining news; and news reports of this matter appear to have only been published after the display was placed in the office. The display was supposed to be there until it was picked up by one Judge J.F. Crosby who was to present the specimens to "a prominent scientific association of the Atlantic slope." Whether or not this ever happened is not noted.

A Questionable Claim

        It's interesting to notice that the initial discovery of the beetles is not what was reported... what was reported was the arrival of the specimens at the public Bullion office. There is no way to know for sure the iron ore came from the mine claimed, or that the beetles were discovered as claimed over five months after the fact. Not surprisingly, some of the retellings of this event I find clearly state their feelings that it's "one of those tall tales that originate only in the new world."

        Later repetitions of the story, starting at least as early as 1895, started to report the newspaper's name as the El Paso Bulliten, not the Bullion. As of 1890, there was no paper named the Bulliten in El Paso; hence, many attempts have been made to find a mention of this incident in a newspaper that doesn't exist. I will try to verify the existence of the specimens, which might help answer the questions... or kill them.