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Andrew Parker (born 1967) (Ph.D. Macquarie University) is a zoologist who has worked on Biomimetics. He worked at the Natural History Museum in London, and from 1990 to 1999 he was a Royal Society University Research Fellow and is a Research Associate of the Australian Museum and University of Sydney and from 1999 until 2005 he worked at the University of Oxford. As of 2018 Parker is a Visiting Research Fellow at Green Templeton College where he is head of a Research Team into photonic structures and eyes.[1]

"Light Switch Theory" and popular science booksEdit

In his 2003 book In the Blink of an Eye, Parker proposes that the Cambrian Explosion, as the sudden diversification in animal fossil forms at the start of the Cambrian Period, was due to the development of the vision faculty and the consequent intensification of predation.[2][3] He calls this the "Light Switch Theory." In particular he concludes that predation with vision led to the development of hard body parts, explaining why the fossil record displayed the Cambrian Explosion at this point in time.[4] The theory received varied reviews; while some were highly critical of the book and its central hypothesis,[5] the majority of others were highly positive.[6] However an important criticism remained that of timing, of the relationship between the rise of predation and the period when vision developed. In his review of many of the debates about the transformation of life forms around the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, Martin Brasier argues that predation played a critical role during the Cambrian Explosion, but that Parker's emphasis on vision is misplaced because eyes did not develop until late in the spread of such predation (Brasier 2009, page 109).[7]

His 2006 book, Seven Deadly Colours, Parker describes the variety of methods of producing colour that have evolved in nature, and their implications for animal lifestyles.[8]

Parker is also an agnostic. His 2009 book The Genesis Enigma argues that the Book of Genesis (and especially chapter 1) is surprisingly accurate and in accord with science.[3] This caused him to conclude that the author of Genesis might have been inspired by God, although his work since demonstrates a neutral stance on religion.[9]


  1. ^ "Andrew Parker". Green Templeton College. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Parker, Andrew (2003). In the Blink of an Eye: How Vision Sparked the Big Bang of Evolution. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub. ISBN 0-7382-0607-5.
  3. ^ a b Alex Lo (April 19, 2015). "Andrew Parker: Evolution, the light-switch theory and the scriptures". South China Morning Post. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  4. ^ Lamos Ignoramous. "Light Switch Theory—Andrew Parker and the Evolution of Eyes "In The Blink of an Eye"". filmslie. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Simon Conway Morris (2003) On the First Day, God Said..., American Scientist July–August 2003
  6. ^ Gert Korthof (2003). "The Cambrian explosion and eye evolution solved at one stroke". 22 June 2003
  7. ^ Brasier, Martin (2009). Darwin's Lost World: The hidden history of animal life. OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-954898-9.
  8. ^ Parker, Andrew (2006). Seven Deadly Colours: the genius of nature's palette and how it eluded Darwin. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-5941-6.
  9. ^ Parker, Andrew (2009). The Genesis Enigma: Why the Bible is Scientifically Accurate. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-61520-5.