Andrew Parker (zoologist)

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Andrew Parker (born 1967) (Ph.D. Macquarie University) is a Professor at the Natural History Museum in London.[1] 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.[1]

Light Switch Theory and other popular science books[edit]

In his 2003 book In the Blink of an Eye, Parker proposes that the Cambrian Explosion, 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] 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. The theory received varied reviews; while some were critical of the book and its central hypothesis, the majority of others were highly positive, with comments including:

"[Parker's] ideas seem highly plausible to me" - Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA)

"The Cambrian explosion's explanation is the Holy Grail for palaeontologists...The outlines of [Parker's] argument are laid out with compelling logic and clarity, and his solution to the Cambrian mystery seems both brilliant and obvious: we must have been blind to miss it". - Daily Telegraph 2003

"A dazzling array of facts from optics, art history, zoology, geology and palaeontology...Parker's remarkable command of different lines of evidence makes a fascinating read...This book allows the reader to get right inside contemporary scientific debate, and leaves a vivid impression of science as a work in progress." - Guardian 2003.

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.[3]

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.[4] 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. [5]


This Andrew Parker should not be confused with Andrew Parker, professor of physiology at St. John's College, Oxford, whose work includes research into binocular vision.


  1. ^ a b Personal webpage at the Natural History Museum London retrieved April 30, 2015
  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. ^ Parker, Andrew (2006). Seven Deadly Colours: the genius of nature's palette and how it eluded Darwin. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-5941-6. 
  4. ^ Andrew Parker: Evolution, the light-switch theory and the scriptures South China Morning Post, April 19, 2015
  5. ^ Parker, Andrew (2009). The Genesis Enigma: Why the Bible is Scientifically Accurate. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-61520-5. 

External links[edit]