July 24, 2006


Fear of Snakes May Have Driven Pre-Human Evolution (Ker Than, 7/24/06, Fox News)

An evolutionary arms race between early snakes and mammals triggered the development of improved vision and large brains in primates, a radical new theory suggests. [...]

"Primates went a particular route," Isbell told LiveScience. "They focused on improving their vision to keep away from [snakes]. Other mammals couldn't do that."

Geez, back when we were in school the Darwinists still pretended, at least rhetorically, that there was nothing special about Man, but now they view us as uniquely capable of evolving ourselves just by focusing hard?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 24, 2006 12:34 PM

Intelligent Design? This is rank Creationism.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 24, 2006 1:00 PM

Human self-awareness arose out of interaction with serpents? That does sound familiar...

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 24, 2006 1:22 PM

The statement you folks are jumping on is very poorly worded. She obviously doesn't mean it that way literally.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 24, 2006 1:34 PM

Ophidiophobia - my greatest fear.

Posted by: obc at July 24, 2006 1:50 PM

Snakes! Why does it always have to be snakes?

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 24, 2006 1:51 PM


It's not the words that are silly, but your faith.

Posted by: oj at July 24, 2006 2:19 PM

PapayaSF: Oh, don't worry. There are no scientists quoted in the article--only anthropologists and evolutionary biologists.

Posted by: b at July 24, 2006 2:45 PM

Hm. Let's see, snakes led mankind to evolve into thinking creatures. I read a story about that somewhere once, but I can't remember where.

Posted by: erp at July 24, 2006 4:42 PM

In the era in question, "primates" didn't mean people.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at July 24, 2006 4:43 PM

Adam and Eve weren't people. People have belly buttons.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 24, 2006 6:01 PM

Hey, if you want to believe Star Trek: Voyager we're all going to evolve into giant catfish.

Posted by: Bryan at July 24, 2006 6:45 PM

How very droll all of you are.

We'll see if you can keep it up when you realize there are SNAKES ON YOUR PLANE!!!

You'll be beggin' to evolve then, won't you?

Posted by: Pepys at July 24, 2006 6:58 PM

It gets even better:

But the improved vision of primates, combined with other snake-coping strategies developed by other animals, forced snakes to evolve a new weapon: venom. This important milestone in snake evolution occurred about 60 million years ago.

"The [snakes] had to do something to get better at finding their prey, so that's where venom comes in," Isbell said. "The snakes upped the ante and then the primates had to respond by developing even better vision."

Note how we primates developed in purely defensive and politically correct ways. They squeeze us to death or zap us with venom so we just will ourselves to run faster and see better. Maybe Joseph Nye is right about that soft power after all. Of course, if George W. Bush had been around, we would have evolved in aggressive, disproportionate ways, driven the cute little critters to extinction and upset the delicate ecological balance. Then, where would we all be, eh?

Is there a unstated protocol among evolutionary scientists that provides thay anyone can say the stupidest thing and nobody reacts?

Posted by: Peter B at July 24, 2006 8:01 PM

"The [snakes] had to do something to get better at finding their prey, so that's where venom comes in," Isbell said. "The snakes upped the ante and then the primates had to respond by developing even better vision."

Athiests should love this: since we can see the apple is rotten with our improved vision, we no longer need God's silly laws.

Posted by: mf at July 25, 2006 12:31 AM


Do fish notice that it's wet?

Posted by: oj at July 25, 2006 11:21 AM


Obviously, when there are SNAKES ON A PLANE, all the humans involved will promptly evolve into Samuel L Jackson in response to the new threat.

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 25, 2006 4:46 PM

Another reason to enjoy Wacking Day!

Posted by: Homer Simpson at July 25, 2006 5:04 PM