How seeing snakes in the grass helped primates to evolve | Lynne A Isbell
In 2006, I published a new idea that could answer that question and more: the ‘snake detection theory’. I hypothesised that when large-gaped constricting snakes appeared about 100 million years ago and began eating mammals, their predatory behaviour favoured the evolution of changes in the vision of one kind of prey, the lineage that was to become primates. In other words, the ability to see immobile predatory snakes before getting too close became a highly beneficial trait for them to have and pass on to their descendants. Then, about 60 million years ago, venomous snakes appeared in Africa or Asia, adding more pressure on primates to detect and avoid them. This has also had repercussions on their visual systems.
Interesting read on how coexisting with snakes forced the improvement of our eyesight.
Also learned a new word from this article; ophiophobia – the abnormal fear of snakes. I don't understand why Wikipedia labels it as an “abnormal” fear of snakes. Is it normal to not fear snakes?