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Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

Humans Might Have Evolved to Spot an Animal Hidden in This Picture

One of these images should stand out more.

25 NOV 2016

Can you identify the animal hidden in each of these four pictures below?

According to a recent study, one of them should be easier than the others.

Check out the images below:

Snakepic1Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

A study out of Nagoya University found that humans could identify blurred pictures of snakes more accurately than those of birds, cats, and dogs.


Participants were shown series of decreasingly blurry images of different animals and asked at each step to identify the animal as one of four choices.

They were able to identify snakes with 80 percent accuracy at step 7 (shown above) but couldn’t identify other animals as accurately until steps 9 or 10.

The results support Snake Detection Theory, the idea that our pre-primate ancestors evolved stronger visual systems to detect their "first and most persistent predator".

According to the theory, the visual centres in our brain remain especially good at picking out snakes. Other studies supporting it have shown that children and monkeys react faster when identifying snakes compared to other animals.

The non-scientific demo above is ordered clockwise from top left: bird, snake, cat, fish.

See the full series from the study below:

Snakepic2Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

Snakepic3Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

Snakepic4Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

Snakepic5Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

And here’s a chart showing results by animal:

Snakepic6Kawai & He, PLOS ONE

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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