Research Shows Humans Could Become Venomous

Research Shows Humans Could Become Venomous

( – There are groups of people who are sometimes referred to as “snakes in the grass,” like lawyers, politicians, and journalists, but that’s just because they all have a habit of sneaking up on an unsuspecting person and biting them right in the… um… ankle. But what if humans could develop the ability to create toxins like a cobra or rattlesnake, as some scientists believe is possible?

Agneesh Barua, from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, studying evolutionary genetics as a doctoral student, and Alexander Mikheyev, with the Australian National University as an evolutionary biologist, co-authored a paper in the peer-reviewed PNAS journal. As you might expect, they don’t theorize that people will spontaneously sprout fangs attached to venom sacs and sink them into unwilling victims.

Instead, the pair studied some of the chemical components in human saliva that help us break apart and digest the food we eat. As it happens, these compounds, which break up complex proteins and carbohydrates, are the building blocks of the poisons other species use to immobilize their prey with toxins. However, the researchers say while possible, it’s unlikely humans would develop venoms because the evolutionary process appears to be tied to need, and Homo sapiens can invent more effective ways of cultivating food.

So, because the biological imperative does not exist, and based on the length of time evolution would need to make the changes, the idea of some King cobra/human hybrid will probably stay within the purview of science fiction novels and movie scripts.

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