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Experimental research of specificity of fear of snake: coral snake pattern
Průšová, Lucie ; Frynta, Daniel (advisor) ; Veselý, Petr (referee)
Due to shared coevolutionary history of snakes and primates with snakes acting as their main predators, snakes elicit fear in most of the primates, humans included. Humans are able to notice a stimulus that elicits fear, e.g., a snake, much faster. Such ability might have surely positively affected their survival in the past. In the nature, aposematic coloration acts as a warning of a dangerous prey to its predators not to devour it. The highly poisonous American coral snakes have this coloration pattern. The harmless king snakes of the Central and North Americas gain an anti-predatory advantage by becoming the coral snakes 'Batesian mimics, copying their bright pattern. Such pattern elicits an innate fear reaction in various species of wild birds who avoid a mere contact with patterned plastic dummies. The question arises whether other taxa, including primates and humans, generally recognize such pattern as dangerous. The aim of this study was to find whether humans fear coral snakes, although they have not long coevolutionary history with them. Further it was analyze, which visual factors of the snakes affect this fear reaction (i.e., a warning coloration, pattern or shape of snake). The atractiveness of these snakes was tested. Another question was whether humans are able to intuitively recognize...