New Lizard Species Do Not Look 'Evil'

Two new lizard species were discovered in the mountain rainforest habitat of northeastern Peru. Too bad a media outlet already said they look evil: ‘New lizard species look like evil dinosaur hybrids’.

Image Credits: Pablo J. Venegas  Omar Torres-Carvajal  Vilma Duran Kevin de Queiroz
Image Credits: Pablo J. Venegas Omar Torres-Carvajal Vilma Duran Kevin de Queiroz

Why would a person judge another species and use the word evil, when it has never done anything to harm humans? The wood lizards referenced in the research study are only about six inches long.

The notion that any animals are evil seems to be a very dated one, going back to times when humans were afraid of wild creatures and had some beliefs about them that were very negative.

Even a Time article (though cheeky) stated that Panda bears are evil: ‘Forget about the fact that pandas are mean-spirited, mate-abusing, progeny-mauling, deviant monsters.’

The attitude reflected in the media from time to time ascribing evil qualities to animals is nothing more than speciesism.

This belief puts humans above other species as being more intelligent and morally superior. Though there isn’t any proof humans are more advanced morally, speciesism prevails among quite a number of people.

There are plenty of examples of human behavior one would likely call evil such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, slavery etc. and many counter examples of animals doing very good – even heroic things, such as a dolphins saving a dog from death. Dolphins have saved humans too, from shark attacks.

Even a commenter on the ‘evil’ lizard article wrote:

Evil? What features, exactly, map on to the assessment of “evil” in this charming and delightful creature?

There isn’t anything evil about it and saying so only makes it more likely a negative attitude about other species persists in the human community. This attitude sometimes is used to justify harming and even killing animals senselessly.

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