Humans are fundamentally helpless against wild animals. But why don’t wild animals often attack them?
When traveling to the mountains, hikers are generally reassured that wild animals are more afraid of humans than humans of them. Even large predators like bears and pumas pose little threat to humans, even though they are slower and weaker than these animals.
There is little reason for this, but based on human physiology, humans evolved to learn to walk on their own two feet. From moving with four limbs to walking standing on longer legs.
A woman and a cheetah
Bipedics signals a threat to predators
John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Live Science that being bipedal brings a new level of threat. For example, other primates like gorillas and chimpanzees stand up to voice threats and communicate to predators that they are in trouble.
Bipedalism makes humans threatening to other animals. But it also makes them slower than their four-legged counterparts, which means they can easily be overtaken by wild animals.
“It’s kind of like a bluff,” Hawks said, quoting Live Science. “It’s like, ‘I walk around, I’m tough, I show where I am in a landscape.” “Wild animals or predators see that the upright position of humans indicates that they are tougher than they are. actually are. But in reality, bipedalism is just a bluff. “
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Other reasons why wild animals leave humans alone
Besides bipedalism, there are other reasons why wild animals generally leave humans alone. Like many primates, humans live in groups and have developed a defense strategy against threats that could work against predators.
Human technology has improved a lot, and humans continue to develop an arsenal of weapons, like firearms, that they could use from a distance. These humans become so deadly that they can use them to fight off an attack from wild animals.
Also, when visiting zoos, it should be noted that lions or tigers do not immediately attack human tourists in open vehicles. According to Smithsonian Magazine, lions could easily attack a human, but a motor vehicle so much bigger than them wouldn’t be easy. They perceive it as a threat that they could not handle and thus explains the predator-prey dynamic in which animals voluntarily make themselves appear larger to avoid being perceived as prey.
Additionally, another reason humans are rarely attacked by large wild animals is that their numbers have declined in recent years. Justin Suraci, a senior scientist in community ecology and conservation biology, said large wild animals suffered great habitat loss in the United States before and into the 20th century.
Humans hunted, trapped and poisoned wolves that were nearly extinct, while the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (IUCN) said cougars have been wiped out from all of the eastern half of North America except for a small population found in Florida.
Despite this, Suraci believes there is an advantage to the “healthy fear” predators have of humans. He believes this has helped the two species coexist as long as humans are aware of their presence.
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