Thursday 10 November 2016


Some weeks ago BBC Radio 4 featured the story of a lovelorn snail called Jeremy who because of a rare, one-in-a-million genetic mutation is coiled anti-clockwise and could never find a mate, being that the general population is right-handed.
The question of compatibility, however, does not come down to a matter of handedness and dominance we see in human dexterity—though this match-making is a tool for studying aspects of it, and is more akin (if parallels are appropriate) to the exceeding rare but viable mutation where some people have their hearts on their right sides: Jeremy’s sexual organs have the wrong orientation and would only work with another like him. This rare state however does not require extensive anatomical examination and is easily recognised by an attentive eye by the way the spiral of the shell radiates, clockwise or counter. The radio appeal, despite the odds, netted two potential suitors or sires for Jeremy (all snails being hermaphroditic and beyond gendered labels) one found by a snail-fancier (a conchologist) not far from the Nottingham labs where Jeremy was kept called Lefty, who’ve had their initial date. Jeremy’s other potential partner—yet unnamed and seemingly held in reserve, was rescued from the frying pan by a keen-eyed sous-chef in Mallorca and given that your garden variety snail is rather polyamorous, and they are scheduled to meet up at a later date.