Chaotic Beetles

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Science  17 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5298, pp. 323-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5298.323

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Chaotic behavior of populations can be described mathematically but has not been observed often in real populations. In a report in this week's issue, Costantino et al. (p. 389) demonstrate chaotic behavior of a population of flour beetles, both in a predictive model and a real population. In their Perspective, Godfray and Hassell discuss the developments in the field that led to these findings and assess the importance of this first demonstration of chaos in an experimental setting.