October 13, 2017, by Emma Rayner
A musical eulogy to Jeremy the lefty snail
As the global media respond to the sad news that the University of Nottingham’s left-spiralling snail Jeremy, has died, an American fan of the story has released a musical eulogy to console Jeremy’s scientist Dr Angus Davison.
Lydia Hiller was inspired to record her original tribute ‘The Tragical ballad of Jeremy the Left Twisting Snail’ by the story of Jeremy’s search for left spiralling lover and has now released a follow-up in his memory. ‘The Tragical Ballad of Jeremy Part 2‘ has immortalised the story in song and Angus can barely bring himself to listen…
But the sad news of Jeremy’s demise comes with a silver lining. Shortly before his death, Jeremy was finally able to produce offspring after mating three times with another lefty snail, ensuring that his legacy will live on through continuing genetic studies into his rare mutation.
“When Jeremy’s offspring hatched on Friday, I was delighted,” said Angus. “As a supposed dispassionate scientist, I should have at that point preserved Jeremy’s legacy – and his DNA, by putting him in the -80 freezer – but the thought of so many people being sad at his demise prevented me doing so. I didn’t do that, and it was a mistake. Jeremy’s body was degraded when I found it on Wednesday, so genetic analyses will be tougher. However, the previous song and now this eulogy by Lydia Hillier perfectly capture some of the feelings that so many people have had over the past year when hearing about Jeremy’s story. Even me.”
Jeremy’s baby snails have all been born with right coiling shells, proving that in the case of these rare mutants, two lefts make a right – at least in the second generation. Angus says he would expect to see the left-spiralling genes come together in subsequent generations of this cohort of snails so his research will continue. Watch this space!