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The details have escaped my mind but I thought it was shown some time back that apes have an inherent fear of spiders (and perhaps snakes as well?). Perhaps some apes that were startled even killed the spiders purposefully - not sure on that one.

As part of evolution all of this makes perfect sense - but what fascinates me is that certain aspects of -fright- can get encoded into the brain and become part of the genetic package.

by Nomad on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 08:50:40 AM EST
On that theme I came across the theory that Dinofelis had our ancestors as standard food and would be the primeval night-stalker we see in the darkness when we can not sleep.

Several fossils sites from South Africa seem to show that Dinofelis may have hunted and killed Australopithecus afarensis since they harbored fossilized remains of Dinofelis, hominids, and other large contemporary animals of the period.

The theory was more or less unsupported but I found it fascinating.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 10:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a fascianting topic.

Right now I would doubt is encoded in a group of genes. I think there is some eveidence of some network of genes and proteins.. but it is certainly seems in the biological package pre-package. Gens and proteins only set the general structure in very lousy terms.. it just seems that the general structure is fine-tuned to get fear of snakes in a specific part of the limbic system.

Probably hormones, otehr carriers, fatty acids and other biological aspects of development play a greater role here than genes...But we will know in the future for sure. we know where it is (fear), what to analyze and what to look for. In some decades we will get an idea.

Byt he way, right now I would bet that it is more encoded in fatty acids activity due to a particular structure organized by a gradient generator (whcih is generated by a proteic network).. but it is just a bet :)

Regarding monkeys and apes and spiders. Monkeys do not fear spiders. In my town no older person fears spiders (neither do I).. adders on the other hand...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have looked for apes and spiders and it is not so easy to find something as  with monkeys...

so the topic remains open

A pleasures

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:46:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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