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In response to An Alien God
Comment author: Jannia 02 November 2007 08:07:29AM 7 points [-]

Maybe predators are wary of rattles and don't step on the snake. Or maybe the rattle diverts attention from the snake's head.

The point of a rattle, as I understand it, is that it's metabolically expensive, and time consuming, to produce poison. A snake that can chase off a dozen threats a day by wagging its tail is much better off probability-of-producing-offspring-wise than one that can only bite and poison three threats before being left defenseless for a few days.

It does leave me wondering what benefits the intermediate mutations provide though, since going from a normal snake tail to a rattle seems like it would take more than one step.

In response to Planning Fallacy
Comment author: Jannia 18 September 2007 05:09:24AM -1 points [-]

Interesting. That corresponds remarkably well with the best advice I've ever gotten for estimating software schedules: take your best guess as to when you'll be done, then double it.