By Thomas Isenbarger

Would a community that abhors killing animals apply selective pressure for animals that do not camouflage themselves as inanimate objects and/or have easily noticed coloration? If I see a leaf on a path, I spend little energy trying to avoid stepping on it (i.e., I step on it). However, if that leaf is actually a frog donning leaf camouflage and I mistakenly kill it by stepping on it and I am a member of a society that abhors killing animals, I have done wrong. If I had seen a "frog" rather than a "leaf" I would have avoided it. Would that frog be better served being a bright pink color that is more noticeable to a moralistic avoider? The relative pressure for and against mimicry of inanimate objects may depend on the relative danger of being seen or not seen by a moralistic and non-moralistic member of the community (e.g., balancing a camouflaged frog being killed by a moralistic person mistakenly stepping on a "leaf" and a hot pink frog being noticed and killed by a non-moralistic predator).


Would a community that treats certain animals as pests apply selective pressure for those animals to defend themselves in ways that would be useless (or worse) against predators?

Flies flee from my waving hand, but are less likely to do so when they are resting in the one place where I won't swat them: on the food.

Once I was pursuing a cockroach when it ran behind a vertical pipe a few centimetres from the wall, stopping in the one place where no shoe could squash it: right next to the pipe, directly facing the wall.

Unintended anthropogenic selection?

Gavin Putland · 29 Sep, 2015
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Thomas Isenbarger



Published: 29 Sep, 2015

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