Snake Expert Dr. S. Blair Hedges Contacts Barbados Free Press – David Shorey Still In Hiding!

Discussion was hot and heavy over our article World’s Smallest Snake Brings Attention To Barbados – How Much Would David Shorey Want For A Snake Museum Feasibility Study?

Several readers were critical of Dr. S. Blair Hedges claiming the “discovery” of a Barbados snake that many folks already knew about.

Yesterday, Dr. Hedges visited Barbados Free Press and left some detailed comments on the blog and a link to enable readers to download his published paper on his discovery of the world’s smallest snake right here on Barbados. You can read his comments here.

As to the other person mentioned in the article – “fixer” and BLP government insider David Shorey, well… we haven’t heard from him yet.

Maybe Mr. Shorey will stop by BFP tomorrow!

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Snake Expert Dr. S. Blair Hedges Contacts Barbados Free Press – David Shorey Still In Hiding!

  1. Bajanboy

    OMG:

    Did the Nation News quote from BFP? I thought that day would never come.

  2. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hl7qw47SpUFsklljmxARCr3CowZAD92ED2BO0

    Barbadians slam discovery, naming of tiny snake

    By DANICA COTO – 2 hours ago

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A small snake has sparked a big debate in Barbados. Residents of the wealthy Caribbean nation have been heating up blogs and clogging radio airwaves to vent their anger at a U.S. scientist, who earlier this week announced his “discovery” of the world’s smallest snake and named it “Leptotyphlops carlae,” after his wife Carla.

    “If he needs to blow his own trumpet … well, fine,” said 43-year-old Barbadian Charles Atkins. “But my mother, who was a simple housewife, she showed me the snake when I was a child.”

    One writer to the Barbados Free Press blog took an even tougher tone, questioning how someone could “discover” a snake long known to locals, who called it the thread snake.

    “How dare this man come in here and name a snake after his wife?” said the writer who identified themselves as Margaret Knight.

    The man she refers to is Penn State University evolutionary biologist S. Blair Hedges, whose research teams also have discovered the world’s tiniest lizard in the Dominican Republic and the smallest frog in Cuba.

    Hedges recently became the first to describe the snake — which is so small it can curl up on a U.S. quarter — when he published his observations and genetic test results in the journal “Zootaxa.” Full-grown adults typically are less than 4 inches long.

    Hedges told The Associated Press on Friday that he understands Barbadians’ angry reactions, but under established scientific practice, the first person to do a full description of a species is said to have discovered it and gives it a scientific name.

    He said most newly “discovered” species are already well known to locals, and the term refers to the work done in a laboratory to establish a genetic profile. In the study, he reported that two specimens he analyzed were found in 1889 and 1963.

    “There are no false claims here, believe me,” Hedges said.

    Damon Corrie, president of the Caribbean Herpetological Society, acknowledged that Hedges is the first to scientifically examine and describe the snake, but the so-called discovery makes locals seem ignorant.

    “It gives the impression that people here … depend on people from abroad to come and show us things in our own backyard,” Corrie said.

    Karl Watson, a historian and ornithologist at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, said it’s common for people to get excited over very tiny or very large animals.

    “Probably people have overreacted. … It’s nationalism going a bit awry,” Watson said.

    Hedges agreed: “I think they’re carrying it a bit too far.”

    “Snakes are really apolitical,” he said.

  3. nellyj

    what is the correct term, because i thought that it was Bajan not Barbadian. Is this a typo in the associated press?

  4. rico

    S. Blair Hedges is like a real goofy Indiana Jones, he claims to have discovered many things in many countries not just Barbados. In Cuba, he claimed to discover the smallest frog. A frog that locals had already known of for many years.

    Hedges is typical of many American professors, their ego is so large. He just wants to get his name in the history books and he does not care what cultures he steps on. American universities fund jerks like Hedges because they want to get their own name in the history books too.

  5. Linda Kauffman

    I live in Key West, Florida. We are a tropical island. We have the “Brahiminy Blind Snake” here, all over the island. It is considered the smallest snake in the world in the books I have read. It appears to be smaller than the one he just found, but I am only looking at photos of his. Ours is black, and very slender and tiny, smaller than a worm. They are all over. Could someone explain this to me.
    Thank You,
    Linda Kauffman

  6. Kay

    Well the Guiness Book of World Records says the shortest snake is the Leptotyphlops bilineata known only in Martinique, Barbados and St. Lucia.
    Even as a child I remember that the Guiness book credited us with having the smallest snake. Now it seems as though this suggest that the one in Barbados has evolved slightly differently, or that there are two very small snakes here when we thought they were one. Whatever, I suppose that there are probably many different plants and animals which are yet to be scientifically described and named.

  7. adriana

    In addition to Linda’s comment…
    I grew up in South Florida, and distinctly remember snakes just as small in my back yard. I remember them being small enough to fit in the palm of my kid-sized hands. I actually caught and played with them as a kid, thinking at first they were worms, but then realizing they had eyes and scales. I guess Barbados was more fun to visit than the Keys.

  8. The scout

    Somebody will soon come to Barbados and “discover” the green monkey

  9. TheWatcher

    It is very wonderful to see that lies still abound across the world. Lies proliferated by certain members of the “lighter persuasion”.Those who “discovered” the New World with inhabitants mind you, and those who keep “discovering” things that other people already know about!
    Time to stop this nonsense. The only thing that these folk have really discovered, is how to rob peoples of their birthright and dignity and then garnish that action with a lie! They have lived lives of lies and deceit for such a long time, that they know no other way now.
    Way to go Barbados and your inhabitants! Tell this fraud that is he wants to discover anything, try diving into the Mariana’s Trench without oxygen tanks. Maybe then will something truly breath-taking be discovered.

  10. We have similar snakes here in México where I live.

    They call them “alambre” or “wire“ here in Querétaro because they look just like a thin metal wire.

    They are very thin and black and very hard and are typically less than 3.5 inches long. I have killed many that have come into the house by smashing them with tip of a police baton that I own.

    I never took a picture of one because they are so common and so well known that I never thought anything of it.

  11. Hey Linda Kauffman, I posted before reading what you had to say. What we have here in México sounds exactly like what you are talking about.

    If another one comes into my house (I doubt it now that I have sealed off the drain where they came in from) I will save it and take pictures.

  12. Luke

    Seriously, all this outrage at Mr. Hedges is nothing but patriotism misplaced. No need to be picky over who it gets named after, the fact remains Hedges was the first to produce an in depth scientific study.

    As a Bajan I too was first indignant at this so called “discovery” but I soon calmed down. To see others still so riled up forced my hand to my blog. You can see my entry here for yourself http://realbajan.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/barbados-tiny-snake-story-gone-wrong/
    at my Realbajan.com blog.

    I love my country and even the damn little snake, but there’s more for us to be indignant about!

  13. art

    Talking “Hedges”:

  14. J

    Dear nellyj:

    Both Bajan and Barbadian are correct.

    Barbadian is the formal term, Bajan is the informal term.

    Most Bajans refer to themselves as Bajans and most do not take offense at being called Bajans.

    On passports, birth, and marriage certificates etc. the formal term is always used.

  15. Bret Carpenter

    Hey, another small snake appeared in my house here in Mexico. They average less than 3″ long; smaller than Blair Hedges “smallest snake in the world”.

    Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyE2Ny0Alg8

  16. ET Mannix

    I have made note of all this fuss over discovery of the world’s smallest snake.
    To me, it sure looks identical to the Texas blind snake, both in shape and size. I’d be glad to provide photos. Not new to Texas. Interesting.

  17. Karin

    I just found one of the small snakes you are talking about in my house (México), and I want to keep it as a pet, could someone tell me the proper way to handle the snake, what do they eat and all that to take good care of it. Thank you!!

  18. Sir Bentwood Dick

    I would just likes BFP to know, dat putting de snake story an de Mr.Shoey pun de same headline so, might seem to indicate that BFP sees the gentleman, as a snake, even that de ‘snake expert’ come lookin fo; he!

    That is just de impression I did get from de headline, but, I could be wrong.

    By the way, what is dis about St.Kitts?

  19. bryan

    I think we also have this kind of snake here in the Philippines.