Talk:1398: Snake Facts

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Revision as of 22:18, 23 July 2014 by (talk) (Another possible explanation about the second factoid.)
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I thought the Worlds longest snake was so long that it took up enough space to be in Brazil, Peru, and Chile at the same time.~~

Just a couple of thoughts: How big was the person whose digestive tract became the longest snake in the world? Also, does the grosser end of the digestive tract develop into the head of a venomous snake? 06:57, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

The snake in the map shades Chile, BOLIVIA and Brazil, not Peru. 08:25, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Updated the image to match the one on Nialpxe (talk) 10:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, the shading (unless randell's updated after reading this) does track chili, up the Pacific Coast, across the border with Peru and veers east into Brazil.

I did wonder if 'the World's longest snake' was a reference to the south American highway, part of the pan American highway. Parts were completed in the 1950's making it 'over 60years old', and does track chili as per the 'snakes' body into Peru but the brazilian section is connected elsewhere, neatly crushing my wild theory. :-( 09:39, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

The first factoid contains a common misconception about evolution, namely that species evolve only in small steps. It's entirely possible that a small mutation caused a protein that appeared in snakes' saliva to suddenly be very poisonous to the snake's prey or enemies. -- 11:13, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

It is possible, but unlikely. Snake venom is not a single chemical, but a mixture of several enzymes and toxins. There is a lot of variation in protein structure and enzymatic properties of the constituents of different snakes' venom, which suggests a gradual shift from one or two simpler lytic enzymes to a complex mixture. Each protein could have mutated separately, but the composition of the venom of each species almost certainly developed over a prolonged period of time. 11:34, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the implication was that every venom evolution happened in one fail swoop. I believe he was pointing out that instead of people thinking that venom evolution started with bad breath (minuscule unnoticeable changes) more likely started with a reasonably poisonous mutation that actually benefited a snakes survival.--Bmmarti3 (talk) 12:46, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Exactly what Bmmarti3 said. "the composition of the venom of each species" You mean of today's snakes. This is what we would expect for animals that have been around for almost 100M years. The venom of the first poisonous snakes was certainly weaker (and probably only worked on specific targets), but that doesn't mean it was weak. -- 13:05, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible that the alt-text is a reference to Cyrano de Bergeracs "L’Autre monde ou les états et empires de la Lune" ("Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon")? I don't have a proper translation, but there's a dialogue that says that every man is born with a snake inside his belly as a punishment by god.-- 15:35, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

That ive seen, Randall is usually very precise in his work. getting a wrong breed for 'longest snake' seems odd to me. Could the 'longest snake' be referring to either a 'longest lived' specimen, or a geographical feature named for a snake? Or perhaps an extinct species? 15:51, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I think he's referring to an actual specimen that is pictured. 18:12, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I second the suggestion that this is not actually referring to a species of snake, or a particular specimen even.... It seems odd that Randall would post inaccurate information about snakes for no apparent reason. Perhaps this is a reference to something else entirely... previous dictators? Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? N'Sync reunion concerts?

Agreed. Anaconda's are not found in Chile either... though Google says that the Anaconda Copper Company owned the largest Copper Mine in the world, located in Chile. I can't connect that factoid with the "more than 60 years" part, though. 22:18, 23 July 2014 (UTC)