I definitely haven't seen snakes do that before... Funky.
j/k that is really cool, though the following quote made me a little sad:
“We may not have observed the behavior in the wild because we’re barely observing the animals in the wild.”
That reminds me of Attenborough talking about how there aren't really many truly wild places left in the world.
That makes me wonder, how much of even, for example, Goodall's study of the chimpanzees just 60 years ago was really studying them in the "wild"?
Maybe this is why I am drawn to videos of extreme deep see creatures, because that does seem to be still wild (for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anDIlMVgNwk ).
Edit: I just wanted to point out that I realize that part of the motivation for the quote is just because of the difficulty of observing the secretive snakes in the wild and not because they don't exist in wild places anymore -- it just sent me down a little tangential rollercoaster of emotion. That's all.
Classic error on part of the report and the NY Times. Highly unlikely (1 in 1e9) that snakes just found a new way to slither when scientist setup that experiment. The article acknowledges that it is hard to observe snakes in the wild. They have most likely been slithering this way for a long long time. Scientist captured snakes slithering in a way they have never seen before.
Measurement (and lack thereof) is the biggest source of errors. Medicine and medical studies is rife with mis-measurement e.g. associational studies. The Boeing 737-Max disaster was because of mis-measurement from a sensor. I could go on and on about this.
I wonder if this dichotomy is correct. These two (instinct and smarts) conceivably overlap to a high degree: A snake must be able to figure out the best strategy among a multitude of different options in any given second, some of which could be highly hardwired, some of which surely are not. And figuring out how to tie itself round a pole might not need all that much computing.
I don't see a reason that a snake should be completely different than humans in this regard. We are at the same time both hardwired and make informed, smart choices, not one or the other.
Add a sixth motion, to which I was witness when I was a small child: Almost flying up, after "standing" on its tail :-)
Snakes could also carry around random objects by coiling their bodies around them and then slithering along, dragging the object with them. They could for instance do this with rocks, carrying them around and stacking them up in piles to form complex structures.
Octopuses do this - but I'm not sure the raw materials for that sort of adaptation exist in the same environments snakes live in.
I suppose there is no proof that they weren't always able to that to scale certain trees, but it's safe to say the advantage is really kicking in just now with scaffolding, lantern posts and birdhouses.
Back in school, I learned about the majority of the Biston betularia butterfly turning black at the oneset of large-scale coal industry and then turning white again after stricter emission regulations were implemented - but this is way cooler IMO.
This is a single individual learning a new trick. Technically this is adaptation.
I mean, it could be both, no? Maybe it was gradually adopted and changed from another technique. But maybe it is just one smart guy.
The interesting thing is whether the species (or even other species) will adopt this over the next 50 years, I suppose.
To be pedantic, it is in no way observable evolution. Scientists have observed speciation before when populations of fish got trapped in separate environments and became mutually sexually incompatible - so different species. That’s observable evolution.
I see no reason to allow these things to live in this world.
First, it's unbelievable human-centric.
Furthermore, out of ~3000 snake species, only ~600 are venomous and only ~200 are dangerous to humans. That's 7%!
"Sinister" implies intentionally evil-doing, which is something only advanced primates are capable of (maybe corvids and some other mammals, not sure).
It's not even the most creepy/disconcerting kill mechanism. Apart from competitors like the Komodowaran (bites you and then stalks you for days while you are slowly dying from the cocktail of bacteria in its mouth), what about stuff like viruses? They don't even live, yet they are highly effective in an evolutional sense and very good at killing lots of stuff in lots of disgusting ways.
If you have a phobia of snakes, ok, but please refrain from turning that into some pseudo-intellectual wisdom...
I thought "this word is so absurd nad definetely not German, no need to translate it". And I was wrong. Leaving it up as a fun fact.
It eats its own tail and itself when it has no choice. At the very least Komodo dragons are relegated to one island more or less, they aren’t swimming up toilet pipes.
Many more animals are more dangerous. Many more animals are more intimidating. Many more animals are more mischievous/malicious.
It's fine to have a phobia, but calling the evolutionary process that led to limbless, sleepy, reclusive dopes sinister is not rational by any measure.
Wait until you find out about H. sapiens sapiens.
We put out traps for the pack rats that invade our house from time to time. This summer, one of the traps unfortunately caught a snake - nothing dangerous to humans but big enough to have been a useful predator for other pests.
I had to fight my since-childhood fear of snakes to go out and set it free. The snake wasn't exactly wild about my attempts to open the trap with a shovel, but eventually it got the idea, slowly slithered out of the trap and scuttled away. I don't love having them around, but I felt good about having (hopefully) saved the life of an animal that almost certainly does the humans who live around here more good than bad.
These things lay eggs and you’ll never know where.
To be honest, I'm also very afraid of them, but like sharks, they are very essential to the ecosystem, and very useful for us.
If you want to pick an animal to hate, mosquitos are perfect candidates.
The usual experience is that they leave you alone if you leave them alone. Unless the only place they can find the food is your house. There is always a probability of fatal biting if a venomous snake is in the vicinity. Catch it and leave it away from the city whenever you can.
Evil implies a concept of good and bad.
I do not fuck around with snakes. If I find one near (or IN) the house, it’s going to meet a swift end.
But that doesn’t mean I’m on some kind of anti snake vendetta. I simply value the life of my family as greater than the life of a snake that’s in/around our home.
We had what I think based on size (easily longer than our car) and colour (essentially black), must have been a King Cobra come along the side of the house several years ago (MIL and I watched it from above via window/balcony), but since then it's basically all Green Pit Vipers, which can be tiny (e.g. some have a head the size of the nail on my pinky finger) but are quite venomous.
They are intricate creatures, with amazing and beautiful features and abilities.
If anything should be wiped off the face of the planet it is ticks and mosquitos.