Monday, July 24, 2006

We Owe It All To (Or Blame) The Snakes

My friend David Pescovitz sent me a link to this news release which proposes that snakes, or more accurately the avoidance of snakes, are at the root of modern civilization:
Some primate groups less threatened by snakes show fewer signs of evolutionary pressure to evolve better vision. For example, the lemurs of Madagascar do not have any venomous snakes in their environment, and in evolutionary terms "have stayed where they are," Isbell said. In South America, monkeys arrived millions of years before venomous snakes, and show less specialization in their visual system compared with Old World monkeys and apes, which all have good vision, including color.

Having evolved for one purpose, a good eye for color, detail and movement later became useful for other purposes, such as social interactions in groups.
So next time you see a snake, thank it (or curse it) for bringing about just about everything you encounter as a social creature.

17 Comments:

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Christian said...

A fascinating theory of intersecting biology/ anthropology. Personally, some of my best friends are snakes.

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger jody said...

some of my best friends are snakes.

They certainly are friends to man, keeping down disease vectors like deer mice and ground squirrels, which carry hanta virus and bubonic plague respectively.

 
At 1:39 AM, Blogger Cece DeSouza said...

I don't see how that could be accurate, yet it's interesting...

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Kelly Moore said...

I am Irish and have deteriorating eyesite. Is this because the snakes were driven from Ireland so long ago that we regressed from a vision standpoint as a people?

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Jeff_Mills said...

You should try Valtrex; it stops herpies outbreaks before they begin. I think snake venom will not help your condition.

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger jenni said...

interesting. personally, i don't like snakes though.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Oberon said...

.......i am the snake.....but i'd rather be a horny toad.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Matt Cooper said...

I love your Blog, very interesting!!
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At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting.thanks

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Yels said...

That's an incredibly interesting theory— one more reason to encourage the teaching of evolution in school.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger *blonde bond* said...

wow that's a pretty neat idea. as far as the school evolution thing, i don't dig that much at all. seriously, humans could not have gotten as complex as we are simply by accident. anyway, that's a whole nother blog. i came to say...CURSE YOU SNAKES FOR BRINGING SOCIETY! hm...i wonder if i'm contradicting myslef. ?? cool idea though, so thanks.

 
At 4:37 AM, Blogger UB said...

very nice blog ! keep up the god work !
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At 1:44 PM, Blogger oliver said...

Is it really the snake that promotes evolution, or is it our fear? Perhaps a lingering fear develops our being more as opposed to other survival factors. Maybe other less evolved animal's response is more out of instinct, or reflex. Both of which would be very different than the effects of a lingering fear. Yet both of which would still promote survival and could be considered survival stragities - instinct and fear. Interesting.

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger Chez Bez said...

Great read. I'll have to share that with all of my snake loving (and snake hating) friends.

Be well.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Shaun said...

Hopefully they don't show up on my plane!!

.

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At 4:52 AM, Blogger jt said...

Very interesting indeed! I love snakes and truly can't imagine a life being afraid of them. It's shameful to me what's happened in NC with some of our species of snakes over the past 20 years, such as the rattler, due to things like clear cutting, urbanization, etc. There seems to be no end in sight to it.

Really nice blog!

 
At 8:52 PM, Blogger edgewarewolf said...

I raise snakes as a hobby.what you are doing i commend you on it.we need more people involved in saving our reptile friends.as more and land is used to build houses,shopping malls and office buildings,it takes away the homes of our friends.I had a 7 feet 4 inches long columbian red tail boa,2 ball pythons,2 cornsnakes and a hondurian milksnake.

 

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