Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spine Tingle: Is it a relic of a tailed ancestor?

Every time I'm somewhere near the edge of a long fall, a tingle descends my spine. It's always happened, so I haven't really thought much about it. Some people tell me they don't get that feeling in high places, though others do. Recently I wondered why.

And I came up with a hypothesis: the spine tingle at edges might be a relic of a tailed ancestor that had an autonomic response to prevent falling out of a high tree, which was to curl its tail around a branch. Since I don't have a tail, all I get is an atavistic spine tingle.

So what's next? I know! A series of experiments generating data to help prove or disprove my hypothesis. You know, science! However, that sort of experiment would probably requires funds, fMRI machines, and monkeys. Three things I'm fresh out of. (Though maybe I don't need monkeys--the ancestor was likely pre-hominid. But I like this picture.)

Does anyone know of someone looking for a doctoral research thesis topic in genetic anthropology? I might have something. And of course, if it turns out this is a subject already studied and researched by someone else, I'd love to know that, too.