It's called ophidio-phobia or fear of snakes. And it's probably the most common fear amongst people. Now, scientists have found reasons why it is among the top phobias among us humans as well as primates.

Scientists have found specific brain cells that trigger a rapid warning in response to the slithery creature; and that the fear of snakes is not innate, but develops early in life. Scientists at University of California identified the related neurons and implanted electrodes into the brains of two apes. Monkey faces, monkey hands, geometric shapes and images of snakes were then shown; bearing in mind that the monkeys had no previous encounter with snakes before the experiment. They noticed that snakes extracted the fastest and strongest responses from the neurons. Hi-sao Ni-shi-jo at University of Toyama in Japan, found that the neural circuits to detect snakes have been genetically encoded through an evolutionary path.

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