The Who2 Blog

Nabokov Was Right About the Butterflies

Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita and butterfly visionary:

In a speculative moment in 1945, he came up with a sweeping
hypothesis for the evolution of the butterflies he studied, a group
known as the Polyommatus blues. He envisioned them coming to the New
World from Asia over millions of years in a series of waves.

Few professional lepidopterists took these ideas seriously during
Nabokov’s lifetime. But in the years since his death in 1977, his
scientific reputation has grown. And over the past 10 years, a team of
scientists has been applying gene-sequencing technology to his
hypothesis about how Polyommatus blues evolved. On Tuesday in the
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, they reported that Nabokov
was absolutely right.

Carl Zimmer has the story.

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