Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Colin. Colin Wonders, “What is a crop circle?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Colin!

We were wandering past the Wonderopolis barn the other day when we overheard an interesting conversation between a couple of the cows:

Biff: Hey Bo! Wake up! What's wrong? You're sleeping standing up!

Bo: *yawn* Sorry, Biff. Chuck and I were up really late last night. *giggles*

Biff: Why were you up so late?

Bo: Well, we snuck out into the corn field and… *giggles*

Biff: No, you didn't. Did you? Please tell me you didn't do it again! Is that why all the cameras and news vans are up at the farmhouse?

Bo: *giggles* We couldn't help ourselves! We didn't think Farmer Fred would actually fall for it again.

Biff: You know he believes in aliens and now he probably thinks aliens created another crop circle out in the corn field!

Bo: I know! *giggles* We stayed up until dawn to watch him and as soon as he saw the flattened corn, he ran to the farmhouse to call the media. And that's not even the best part!

Biff: Oh goodness. What's the best part?

Bo: We made a triangle instead of a circle this time! Bahahahaha!

With all the media personnel headed toward the barn, we didn't have time to stick around to hear the rest of the cows' conversation. Our curiosity was piqued, though. Exactly what are these crop circles the cows were speaking of?

Crop circles are large geometric patterns composed primarily of circles that appear in fields of crops, such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, oats, rye, etc. The patterns are created when certain areas are tamped down while others are left intact. The patterns tend to be very precise and often look like they were created by a machine.

Although some people believe that crop circles have existed and appeared for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, most experts believe they first appeared in the 1970s in England. The first crop circles (and still most common) were single circles that delighted and puzzled farmers as well as the news media.

As interest in crop circles grew, they began to appear in dozens of other countries, including the United States. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the number and complexity of crop circles grew tremendously.

Some crop circles were so large and elaborate that they effectively illustrated complex mathematical equations. Today, England remains the home of the largest concentration of crop circles.

There's no doubt that crop circles are real. The evidence is there for all to see. However, their origin remained a mystery for quite some time. Even today, some people still cling to some wild theories to explain crop circles.

For example, some people believe that aliens or UFOs create crop circles. Others believe the explanation may be scientific, such as powerful wind patterns (known as vortices) or energy fields.

However, the only explanation that has proved true is that human beings are responsible for crop circles. In September 1991, British duo Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted that they had created hundreds of crop circles since 1978. They even demonstrated for the media how they make them with a homemade device consisting of a rope and a plank.

The duo claimed that they created crop circles as a prank to make people believe that UFOs or aliens had visited Earth. The vast majority of crop circles have since been traced to various copycat hoaxers. Still, some crop circle enthusiasts insist that there are crop circles that cannot be explained away as a human prank.

Could such crop circles point to visits by aliens? We'll let you be the judge of that. Crop circles remain popular today. Some professional artists have even designed and created large crop circles in fields as advertisements to promote large corporations.

Wonder What's Next?

A four-legged powerhouse is the mane attraction of tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!