Anthropologist offers view of snakes as predatory prey and competitor

Anthropologist offers view of snakes as predatory prey and competitor

first_img © 2011 PhysOrg.com Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) Image: Wikipedia. It all started back in 1976 with Headland, when he and his new wife picked up and moved to the Philippines to live amongst a native people called the Agta Negritos; a hunter-gatherer culture that lived in the mountainous region of the island of Luzon (largest in the Philippines and scene of an epic battle in World War II). It was while living there that Headland became fascinated by the intertwining relationship between the Agta and pythons that lived in the same area. He found that not only did the occasional python attack and sometimes kill and eat the occasional Agta, but sometimes the tables were turned and the Agta killed and ate the occasional python. Thus the people and the snakes were both predator and prey; and as if that weren’t enough, they were also competitors for many of the same food sources, i.e. animals that lived in the area, such as pigs, deer and monkey’s.So intrigued was Headland by this relationship that he began to interview the Agta with the aim of separating fact from folk lore. He discovered that during the period between the late 1940’s to the 1970’s, twenty six percent of the men had been attacked at least once by a python (but only one woman) and that there had been six fatal attacks including one where a python slipped into a hut and killed and ate two children. Per Headland’s calculations, that came to an attack every two or three years, which would seem like just enough to instill a very healthy fear in the people that lived there.But it wasn’t all one-sided, during the same time period, Headland either wasn’t able, or chose to not calculate the number of pythons killed by the Agta, but makes it very clear that the numbers of the snakes killed by people were far higher than the number of people killed by snakes. And by most accounts, each time, the snakes were eaten.Because of what he’d found in the Philippines, Headland contacted Harry Greene at Cornell University to see if he had any evidence of other such relationships in the historical record. After searching, Greene found many accounts describing much the same thing in other cultures living in the same habitat as other large constrictors.The two then assembled what they’d found and wrote up their paper, and in it suggest that humans and snakes have a very long and antagonistic history with most of it existing as mortal enemies. They suggest that prior to the invention of iron weapons, which gave humans the upper hand, the relationship between people and snakes could have led to the fear that humans now feel at the very sight of virtually any snake, and possibly vice versa. (PhysOrg.com) — Because we humans are able to write down our greatest fears, we’ve managed to amass quite a library of frightful things over the past several hundred years. One particular fear that seems to crop up with some regularity is ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes. Most people don’t even need to see a snake to feel that bit of fear, just the mere mention of the word “snake” can cause the hair on the back of the neck to stand up and that bit of panic to gnarl in the gut. Now, anthropologists Thomas Headland and Harry Greene offer some clues as to why that may be. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they suggest that primates, and humans in particular, may have a longer, more intricate relationship with snakes than has been previously thought. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Researcher uses card trick to reveal unconscious knowledgecenter_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Explore further Citation: Anthropologist offers view of snakes as predatory, prey, and competitor (2011, December 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-anthropologist-view-snakes-predatory-prey.html More information: Hunter–gatherers and other primates as prey, predators, and competitors of snakes, PNAS, Published online before print December 12, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115116108AbstractRelationships between primates and snakes are of widespread interest from anthropological, psychological, and evolutionary perspectives, but surprisingly, little is known about the dangers that serpents have posed to people with prehistoric lifestyles and nonhuman primates. Here, we report ethnographic observations of 120 Philippine Agta Negritos when they were still preliterate hunter–gatherers, among whom 26% of adult males had survived predation attempts by reticulated pythons. Six fatal attacks occurred between 1934 and 1973. Agta ate pythons as well as deer, wild pigs, and monkeys, which are also eaten by pythons, and therefore, the two species were reciprocally prey, predators, and potential competitors. Natural history data document snake predation on tree shrews and 26 species of nonhuman primates as well as many species of primates approaching, mobbing, killing, and sometimes eating snakes. These findings, interpreted within the context of snake and primate phylogenies, corroborate the hypothesis that complex ecological interactions have long characterized our shared evolutionary history.last_img read more

US FTC Asking Apple About Health Data Protection

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking assurances from Apple Inc that it will prevent sensitive health data collected by its upcoming smartwatch and other mobile devices from being used without owners’ consent, two sources told Reuters.The two people, both familiar with the FTC’s thinking, said Apple representatives have met on multiple occasions with agency officials in recent months, to stress that it will not sell its users’ health data to third-party entities such as marketers or allow third-party developers to do so.Apple said it works closely with regulators around the world, including the FTC, to describe built-in data protections for its services. “We’ve been very encouraged by their support,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters.Apple developed its new HealthKit platform, which manages data from mobile health apps, to give consumers control over how their information is used and shared. “We designed HealthKit with privacy in mind,” said Muller.There are no indications that the FTC intends to launch a formal investigation or inquiry into the matter, but the dialogue underscores the agency’s interest in how the increasing wealth of consumer-generated health and fitness data will be safeguarded. The FTC declined to comment.The FTC is paying particularly close attention to Apple’s upcoming smartwatch, which can track a user’s pulse and potentially store health-related information, the two sources said.Apple hopes its upcoming Apple Watch and HealthKit platform will become the lynchpins in a broad push into mobile healthcare, a potentially lucrative field that rivals Google and Samsung are also exploring.FTC Commissioner Julie Brill in May said the agency is concerned about the risks of health data that flows outside of a medical context, such as information collected via wearables and mobile health apps.The agency also requested that Congress enact legislation to make the practices of data brokers more visible.Most data that consumers store in mobile health apps is not covered by privacy rules known as HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But the FTC has stressed that this data is still highly sensitive and is keen on investigating how any consumer-generated data gathered is shared, exchanged, and protected. The agency has made it a priority to examine whether mobile health developers marketing apps on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms are taking precautions to safeguard user privacy, the sources said.The FTC also concluded in a recent study that many developers share or sell health data. The study found that developers of 12 mobile health and fitness apps were sharing user information with 76 different parties, such as advertisers.Apple is turning to a team of outside experts, including health data protection lawyer Marcy Wilder, to respond on health issues, said one of the sources and another person familiar with the matter.The company also is considering appointing an in-house health privacy czar, the sources said.Some experts say Apple is setting a strong precedent for health data privacy. Apple requires that users must give consent before app developers are granted access to their health information, and that data logged by its smartwatch is encrypted on the device.In late August, Apple tightened its privacy rules to ensure that personal data collected through HealthKit would not be used by developers for the purposes of advertising or other data-mining purposes. It also said apps that access HealthKit are required to have a privacy policy, although it remains to be seen how Apple will enforce this rule.FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez praised Apple for taking a step critical to maintain consumers’ trust.(Reporting By Christina Farr and Diane Bartz, editing by Edwin Chan and Peter Henderson) 4 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » November 14, 2014 This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more