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Kid less frightened by lion than... probably the average adult.:

Short video story.

I suppose it makes a bit of sense that kids wouldn't be as scared of lions as adults are; lions do somewhat resemble domestic cats as far as appearance goes, so I suppose kids might be more likely to expect similar behaviour if they're not as familiar with lion behaviour as adults are.

Still though, given that humans as a whole have ancestry that traces back to Africa, you'd think we would have evolved to be afraid of lions instinctually, if only because those who are would be more likely to survive long enough to pass on more genes...
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
 2 Major Tom, Tue, 10th Jan '12 3:22:59 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
But we learned to hunt lions thousands of years ago....
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
 3 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 10th Jan '12 3:24:36 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Large animals in Africa pretty much learned to be afraid of humans because humans are freaking terrifying. Large animals in, say, the Americas learned to be afraid of humans really fast or got eaten. Notice how there are much fewer large animals in the Americas than there are in Africa.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
scratching at .8, just hopin'
Yeah, we're some pretty badass apes. Still, that girl's reaction shows a remarkable faith in the power of transparent barriers.

Some technology (like glass or mirrors) are probably introducing elements to our perceptual cognition that our old evolutionary biases just aren't ready for.

edited 10th Jan '12 3:27:18 PM by RadicalTaoist

[up][up] Humans weren't as terrifying for most of their evolutionary history as they are now, though. It is primarily our technology that makes us threatening.
"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
scratching at .8, just hopin'
I dunno, endurance hunting plains apes who can chase you for days, hunt in large packs, and can use pointy sticks to kill you at a distance where you have no chance or retaliation would scare the shit out of me if I were a prehistoric African megafauna.

edited 10th Jan '12 5:01:41 PM by RadicalTaoist

I highly doubt we've got a fear for anything as specific as a lion baked into us.

The most specific thing I'm aware of is the Garcia effect, which is STILL highly general and EVEN THEN needs to be "triggered". (oh, and things like vomit which are both always dangerous when present and almost always present)

But I really doubt we have any innate fears of specific animals because that's perfectly well covered by (our very highly developed capacity for) learning without the drawback of never being able to come near a lion for any reason.
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1
 8 Joesolo, Tue, 10th Jan '12 5:06:30 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
Brave girl.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
 9 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 10th Jan '12 5:10:03 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Tao's right. We're not terrifying merely because of current technology. We were causing mass extinctions looooong before modern times. It just took a while for us to notice.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 10 Major Tom, Tue, 10th Jan '12 5:16:24 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^ That's one of two theories why the Wooly Mammoth and Sabre-Tooth Tiger disappeared from Eastern Russia and North America. Humans hunted them all down is one theory. (A cosmic radiation burst on that side of the planet is the other I know of.)

A mass extinction of those two species is the only reason why there are ecological defenses still left in North America for their evolutionary descendants. For instance prairie antelope in North America are adapted and built that they'd be hunted by plains cats not too dissimilar to lions or cheetah. Yet there is no plains cat in all of North America. Cougars stick to the mountains for the most part.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
 11 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 10th Jan '12 5:18:41 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
What about New Zealand? I thought it was pretty evident that humans ate the moa to extinction.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Matt: Humans don't really have instinctive fears of specific animals. That kind of caution is taught by caretakers, and it's a good thing it DOES get taught. Maybe it's because humans move around a lot. After all, animals certainly DO have instinctive fears of their natural predators.

Case in point - no instinctive fear of snakes.

"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
 13 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 10th Jan '12 6:05:24 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
That's just it, humans don't have natural predators. Any confrontation with an animal like a lion will probably be territorial/competition, not because the lion really wants to eat you.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
@Major Tom: I should probably say that the reason we extincted those species is mainly because we hunted their PREY to extinction, not because we were hunting them directly.

Apex predators don't generally hunt other apex predators (or large and dangerous herbivores like mammoths) for the obvious reason that we've both evolved to be very good at killing things and so starting fights with each other is foolish.
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1
Actually, humans DO have instinctual fears of certain animals - snakes, rats, and spiders. Rats make sense as they are a source of disease and also our chief competitors since the invention of agriculture (seriously, even today rodents eat a quarter of the world's potential food supply - making them far more dangerous to human beings than any other species on the planet), and we avoid snakes and spiders for obvious reasons. We also have fear of swimming in water which we cannot see the bottom of, which is probably meant to deal with crocodiles.

Why aren't we afraid of lions? Because they usually won't hunt primates. It is very rare that a lion will waste its time hunting a human, mostly because bipedalism allows us to spot lions in the tall grass - one of the reasons we evolved the trait in the first place - but also because as pack animals ourselves we often have a numbers advantage and a lookout to warn of incoming dangers. Humans are also not very good sources of meat compared to herbivores (there's a reason most people on the planet get their steaks from herbivores instead of omnivores and carnivores), so its kind of a waste of time when you can hunt bigger game that offers a better payoff.

Now that doesn't mean that NO big cats ever hunted humans - that honor goes to the leopard. As an ambush predator with excellent night vision, leopards often grabbed a wayward human as they wandered off into the night to take a leak. We have direct evidence of this - not only are leopard attacks still common in India and Africa, but ancient homonoid fossils sports leopard fang marks on the bones. Probably why we fear the dark.

And just to prove my point about the lions, here's a video of some baboons utterly destroying a lion pride:

edited 10th Jan '12 8:26:47 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars

 
 16 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 10th Jan '12 8:30:31 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Nature, man. It's not always the scariest-looking animal that wins.

Reminds me of that one time an octopus got into a shark tank, and then sharks started disappearing...
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Um...humans don't really have an instinctive snake fear. Rats scare people not because of inborn reasons, but because when they gang up, they're scary as fuck. Plenty of people keep pet rats, and again, not inborn. Spiders creep a lot of people out, but a lot of people are also okay with them. Where are you getting this?

edited 10th Jan '12 8:42:25 PM by Katrika

"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
I'd also like to add that when it comes to the big cats and humans, its sort of like a fight between a Rogue and a Shaman. If the shaman (human) notices the rogue (cat) before that initial ambush attack, humans have a good chance of winning, as ludicrous as that sounds. But most cats hunt prey that doesn't fight back once its down, and humans have a tendency to (provided that the cat doesn't crit Ambush before we can do anything, or break our necks in its initial pounce) keep on fighting to the bitter end. And its that willingness to fight back that often makes the animals balk and flee (they don't want to risk getting hurt, after all), and, baring that, we can always force our arm down the cat's throat and rip out their tongue (advice given to me by a professional lion tamer).

Our real secret weapon is our ability to ignore fear, or as the Bene Geserit put it "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

[up]Maybe not every person on Earth fears those creatures, but the vast majority do. It's kind of like how not everybody can wiggle their nose - the trait is still present in a large portion of the population, but its slowly dying out over time.

edited 10th Jan '12 8:44:52 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars

 
Yeah, but do you have actual stats?
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
[up]I can't recall where I heard it, but I seem to remember something like spiders, snakes, and rats ranking amongst the top ten fears in several different polls. Heights almost always ranks as the top fear, incidentally.
 
 21 Qeise, Tue, 10th Jan '12 11:46:05 PM from sqrt(-inf)/0 Relationship Status: Waiting for you *wink*
Professional Smartass
She shied back at first, saw the lion isn't getting through and relaxed. Why would anybody fear more than that?
Laws are made to be broken. You're next, thermodynamics.
Lover of masks.
I am pretty sure it's less inborn fear and more taught to be afraid early.
Please.
 23 Drunk Girlfriend, Wed, 11th Jan '12 12:21:58 AM from Castle Geekhaven
She shied back at first, saw the lion isn't getting through and relaxed. Why would anybody fear more than that?

This. Though that may be because adults tend to worry more about imaginary problems than kids do. I don't think that kids have the mental capacity yet to go "Hmm, if that glass breaks, I'm lion lunch."
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
 24 Karalora, Wed, 11th Jan '12 6:08:21 AM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
I'm pretty sure the lion was just playing. I didn't see any claws come out.
[up] Maybe the lion was trying to break the glass, and planning to take his claws out if he succeeded.

[up][up] See what I mentioned in the OP; lions look somewhat like domestic cats but bigger, so assuming fear of lions isn't evolved and innate in kids, I wouldn't be surprised if little kids thought of lions as just giant kittens.

edited 11th Jan '12 8:12:03 AM by HiddenFacedMatt

"I even like the idea of a nice man who sees me when I'm sleeping and knows when I'm awake. And that man is Barack Obama." - Bill Maher
Total posts: 33
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