Links With Your Coffee Monday
It would obviously be adaptive for some animals to be able to distinguish between natural phenomena, like wind, and phenomena that have similar effects but are caused by hidden agents like predators. One example (used in the paper below) is the rustling of trees in a tropical forest canopy. We know how to distinguish between the rustling caused by wind, which is general, and the rustling that is localized and moves slowly, like that caused by a troop of monkeys moving through the trees. (I experienced this myself on a recent trip to Costa Rica). If you’re liable to be disturbed (or eaten) by monkeys you need to pay attention to avoid the troop, but in the case of wind you don’t want to waste valuable foraging time looking up and getting nervous every time a leaf rustles.