Saturday, August 09, 2008

When Snakes in the Grass Are a Pain in the Ass...

Residents of Barbados are hoppin'-ass mad at U.S. scientist S. Blair Hedges, who recently "discovered" the world's tiniest snake--so small that it can curl up on the surface of a quarter--and named it leptotyphlops carlae, in honor of his wife, Carla.

Locals say that Hedges have no right to claim "discovery" of the snake, since it's always been well-known to locals, who call it the "thread snake." Hedges pointed out that most species scientist have "discovered" were already familiar to the local population and the term discovery is really for the purposes of genetic testing and documentation in scientific journals.

That was my first thought when I read the article--I mean, how many of these people are going to read scientific journals about reptiles? I can't think of a single animal on earth that's commonly referred to by its scientific name. People will still call it the "thread snake." It will make no difference in their lives. I can understand their territoriality, but seriously, I doubt that tourists the world over will flock to Barbados to see this thing. The local ecology will not be upset by "reptile pilgrims" clambering all over each other to see the thread snake. So chill out.

Anyway, if anybody has a right to be upset, shouldn't it be Carla Hedges? Who the hell wants a snake named after them??

My favorite line in the article was Hedges' quote near the end, when he accused the Barbadans of overreacting to the issue:

"Snakes are really apolitical."

Where has he been for the last eight years?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they gave this snake a name longer than it is. A snake in the grass is worth two in the bush. Are they sure it is a snake and not a legless lizard? It seems some guys can't keep their snake in their pants. Edwards just blew his chance to be vice-President. It seems that Heteros aren't perfect. We may have different needs but we all make mistakes. ed

9:25 PM  
Blogger jeery said...

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1:24 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I don't think Edwards would have been picked anyway...but that was really something to hear. Maybe he'll brazen it out and become more and more obnoxious until people forget about the affair.

It seems to have worked for Jesse Jackson.

11:44 AM  

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