Here's something that I've been thinking about for a while. Big cats appear to have an innate odds calculating ability whilst hunting, so are we humans devoid of such intuitive talents? A lot has been written about deficiencies of such abilities in humans, thus implying a need for formal structure. But what if we have a natural odds calculating ability that can be developed?

Twenty-nine published and four unpublished studies of leopard diet that had relative prey abundance estimates associated with them were analyzed from 13 countries in 41 different spatial locations or temporal periods throughout the distribution of the leopard. A Jacobs' index value was calculated for each prey species in each study and the mean of these was then tested against a mean of 0 using t or sign tests for preference or avoidance. Leopards preferentially prey upon species within a weight range of 10–40 kg. Regression plots suggest that the most preferred mass of leopard prey is 25 kg, whereas the mean body mass of significantly preferred prey is 23 kg. Leopards prefer prey within this body mass range, which occur in small herds, in dense habitat and afford the hunter minimal risk of injury during capture.


Pitt T. Maner III comments:

I think that humans have retained quite a bit of this innate assessment ability if you expand your definition of "hunting". Body fat percentage, symmetry, beauty, likelihood of being fertile, health, etc., etc., etc. is done in the blink of an eye although not assigned a particular number…

Take this research for instance:

Such a drive might underlie the utility of attractiveness. And elucidating how the brain responds to large, obvious differences in attractiveness could help researchers understand how the brain responds to differences that are subconscious and difficult to articulate. Platek says he does have results, as yet unpublished, that look at the brain’s response to good-gene indicators.

It's just when you are looking for an attractive stock that you get into trouble since stocks have only been around a few hundred years. And one can be fooled by cosmetic surgery and such…

Having spotted an escaped pet boa constrictor (later picked up by its owner) from 100 feet away along the side of the road in Lake Worth, Florida while driving home at 30 mph one day, I can attest to the fact that humans are very adept at spotting moving, linear, snake-like structures too, in an urban landscape. Another innated carry-over from the Serengeti…


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