The current study of preschool children characterizes a semi-natural extension of experimental questions on how human ancestors evaded predation when encountering dangerous felids. In a pretend game on a playground, we presented full-size leopard and deer models to children (N = 39) in a repeated-measures experimental design. Prior to viewing the model presented 15-m away, each child was instructed by the experimenter to go where she or he would feel safe. The rationale for this study was based on the anthropological construct of “sexual dinichism,” positing that, during the Pliocene, smaller-bodied hominin females engaged in more arboreal behavior than larger-bodied males. Consistent with this construct, our previous simulation research using images of an African rock outcrop showed that, after viewing a lion, girls preferred a tree as refuge rather than a crevice or large boulder whereas boys did not differentiate these refuge sites. In this follow-up study, we predicted that, after viewing the model leopard, the preschool girls would differ from the boys by not choosing enclosed refuge sites analogous to the crevice. Analyses of a contingency table for the leopard model supported this hypothesis by yielding a significant interaction of sex and refuge location (p = .031, d = .76), the source of which was a reliably larger percentage of girls not choosing concealed refuge (p = .005, d = 2.3). The interaction of sex and refuge location for the model deer was not significant (p > .5). Our findings suggest that, in contrast to the deer, the girls selected exposed playground refuge sites rather than concealing ones to maintain visual contact with the leopard as a contingency for future action.
Agresti, A. (2002). Categorical data analysis. Second Edition. New York: Wiley.
Barrett, H. C. (2005). Adaptations to predators and prey. In D. Buss (Ed.),
The handbook of evolutionary psychology (200–223). Hoboken, NJ:
Black, J. E., & Greenough, W. T. (1986). Induction of pattern in neural
structure by experience: implications for cognitive development (1–50).
In M. E. Lamb, A. L., Brown & B. Rogoff B (Eds.) Advances in
developmental psychology, Vol 4. New Jersey: ErlbaumHillsdale.
Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss. Vol. 1. Attachment. Second edition. New York: Basic Books.
Brain, C. K. (1970). New finds at the Swartkrans australopithecine site. Nature (London), 225, 1112–1119.
Busse, C. (1980). Leopard and lion predation upon chacma baboons living in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Botswana Notes & Records, 12, 15–21.
Caro, T. M. (1986). The functions of stotting in Thomson’s gazelles: Some tests of the predictions. Animal Behaviour, 34, 663–684.
Cosco, N. G., Moore, R. C., & Islam, M. Z.. (2010). Behavior mapping: A method for linking preschool physical activity and outdoor design. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42, 513-519.
Coss, R. G. (1991a). Context and animal behavior: 3. The relationship between early development and evolutionary persistence of ground squirrel antisnake behavior. Ecological Psychology, 3, 277–315.
Coss, R. G. (1991b). Evolutionary persistence of memory-like processes. Concepts in Neuroscience, 2, 129–168.
Coss, R. G., & Charles, E. P. (2004). The role of evolutionary hypotheses in psychological research: Instincts, affordances, and relic sex differences. Ecological Psychology, 16, 199-236.
Coss, R. G., Fitzhugh, E. L., Schmid-Holmes, S., Kenyon, M. W., & Etling, K. (2009). The effects of human age, group composition, and behavior on the likelihood of being injured by attacking pumas. Anthrozoös, 22, 77-87.
Coss, R. G., & Goldthwaite, R. O. (1995). The persistence of old designs for perception. In N. S. Thompson (Ed.), Perspectives in ethology, Vol. 11. Behavioral design (83–148). New York: Plenum.
Coss, R. G., & Ramakrishnan, U. (2000). Perceptual aspects of leopard recognition by wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata). Behaviour, 137, 315–335.
Dabbs, J. M. Jr., Chang, E-L., Strong, R. A., & Milun, R. (1998). Spatial ability, navigation strategy, and geographic knowledge among men and women. Evolution and Human Behavior, 19, 89–98.
Doran, D. M. (1993). Sex differences in adult chimpanzee positional behavior: The influence of body size on locomotion and posture. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 91, 99–115.
Ecuyer-Dab, I., & Robert, M. (2004). Have sex differences in spatial
ability evolved from male competition for mating and female
concern for survival? Cognition, 91, 221–257.
Fitzgibbon, C. D. (1990). Anti-predator strategies of immature Thomson’s gazelles: Hiding and the prone response. Animal Behaviour, 40, 846–855.
Fjørtoft I. (2001). The natural environment as a playground for children: The impact of outdoor play activities in pre-primary school children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29, 111-119.
Gaines, S. K., & Leary, J. M. (2004). Public health emergency preparedness in the setting of child care. Family & Community Health, 27, 260-265.
Gibson, J. J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (Original work published 1979).
Isbell, L. A. (1994). Predation on primates: Ecological patterns and evolutionary consequences. Evolutionary Anthropology, 3, 61-71.
Koops, K., McGrew, W. C., & Vries, H., & Tetsuro Matsuzawa, T. (2012).
Nest-building by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Seringbara, Nimba mountains: Antipredation, thermoregulation, and antivector hypotheses. International Journal of Primatology, 33, 356–380.
Kraft, T. S., Venkataraman, V. V., & Dominy, N. J. (2014). A natural history of human tree climbing. Journal of Human Evolution, 71, 105-118.
Lahti, D. C., Johnson, N. A., Ajie, B. C., Otto, S. P., Hendry, A. P., Blumstein, D. T., Coss, R. G., Donohue, K., & Foster, S. A. (2009). Relaxed selection in the wild: Contexts and consequences. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24, 487-496.
Leakey, M. G., Feibel, C. S., McDougall, I., & Walker, A. (1995). New four-million-year-old hominid species from Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya. Nature (London), 376, 565–571.
Micheletta, J., Waller, B. M., Panggur, M. R., Neumann, C., Duboscq, J., Agil, M., & Engelhardt, A. (2012). Social bonds affect anti-predator behavior in a tolerant species of macaque, Macaca nigra. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.1470.
Nigg, B.M., Fisher,V., Allinger, T. L., Ronsky, J. R.,& Engsberg, J. R. (1992). Range of motion of the foot as a function of age. Foot and Ankle, 13, 336–343.
Penkunas, M. J., & Coss, R. G. (2013a). Rapid detection of visually provocative animals by preschool children and adults. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 527-536.
Penkunas, M. J., and Coss, R. G. (2013b). A comparison of rural and urban Indian children’s visual detection of threatening and nonthreatening animals. Developmental Science, 16, 463-475. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12043.
Penkunas, M. J., Coss, R. G., & Shultz, S. (2014). Risk assessment by British children and adults. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 6, 32-43.
Pickford, M., & Senut, B. (2001). The geological and faunal context of Late Miocene hominid remains from Lukeino, Kenya. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences IIa: Earth and Planetary Science, 332, 145–152.
Plavcan, J. M., Lockwood, C. A., Kimbel, W. H., Lague, M. R., & Harmon, E. H. (2005). Sexual dimorphism in Australopithecus afarensis revisited: How strong is the case for a human-like pattern of dimorphism? Journal of Human Evolution, 48, 313-320.
Postma, A., Jager, G., Kessels, R. P. C., Koppeschaar, H. P. F., & van Honk, J. (2004). Sex differences for selective forms of spatial memory. Brain and Cognition, 54, 24–34.
Pruetz, J. D., Fulton, S. J., Marchant, L. F., McGrew, W. C., Schiel, M., & Waller M. (2008). Arboreal nesting as anti-predator adaptation by savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in southeastern Senegal
American Journal of Primatology, 70, 393–401.
Qvindesland, A., & Jónsson, H. (1999). Articular hypermobility in Icelandic 12-year-olds. Rheumatology, 38, 1014-1016.
Ramakrishnan, U., & Coss, R. G. (2001a). Strategies used by Bonnet Macaques (Macaca radiata) to reduce predation risk while sleeping. Primates, 42, 193-206.
Ramakrishnan, U., & Coss, R. G. (2001b). A comparison of the sleeping behavior of three sympatric primates: A preliminary report. Folia Primatologica, 72, 51-53.
Russell, J. A., Shave, R. M., Kruse, D. W. Koutedakis, Y., & Wyon, M. A. (2011). Ankle and foot contributions to extreme plantar- and dorsiflexion in female ballet dancers. Foot & Ankle International, 32, 183-188.
Sandstrom, N. J., Kaufman, J., & Huettel, S. A. (1998). Males and females use different distal cues in a virtual environment navigation task. Cognitive Brain Research, 6, 351–360.
Silverman, I., & Choi, J. (2007). The hunter-gatherer theory of sex differences in spatial abilities: Data from 40 countries. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 261-268.
Spiteri, R. (2010). Escaped animal scares family. Niagara Falls Review, July 26. http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2010/07/26/escaped-animal-scares-family.
Stankowich, T., & Coss, R. G. (2007). The re-emergence of felid camouflage with the decay of predator recognition in deer under relaxed selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, 274, 175-182.
Stern, J. T., Jr., & Susman, R. L. (1983). The locomotor anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 60, 279–317.
Susman, R. L., Stern, J. T., Jr., & Jungers, W. L. (1984). Arboreality and bipedality in the Hadar hominids. Folia Primatologica, 43, 113–156.
Treves A., & Naughton-Treves, L. (1999). Risk and opportunity for humans
coexisting with large carnivores. Journal of Human Evolution, 36, 275–282.
Treves, A., & Palmqvist, P. (2007). Reconstructing Hominin Interactions with Mammalian Carnivores (6.0–1.8 Ma). In S. Gursky-Doyen, & K. A. I. Nekaris (Eds.), Primate anti-predator strategies (355-381). New York: Springer Science & Business Media LLC.
Tromborg, C. T., & Coss, R. G. (2015). Isolation rearing reveals latent antisnake behavior in California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus becheeyi) searching for predatory threats. Animal Cognition, 18, 855-865.
Villmoare, B., Kimbel, W. H., Seyoum, C., Campisano, C. J., DiMaggio, E. N., Rowan, J., Braun, D. R., Arrowsmith, J. R., & Reed, K. E. (2012). Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia. Science, 347, 1352-1354.
To give up copyright, the authors allow that, International Journal of Psychological Research, distribute the work more broadly, check for the reuse by others and take care of the necessary procedures for the registration and administration of copyright; at the same time, our editorial board represents the interests of the author and allows authors to re-use his work in various forms. In response to the above, authors transfer copyright to the journal, International Journal of Psychological Research. This transfer does not imply other rights which are not those of authorship (for example those that concern about patents). Likewise, preserves the authors rights to use the work integral or partially in lectures, books and courses, as well as make copies for educational purposes. Finally, the authors may use freely the tables and figures in its future work, wherever make explicit reference to the previous publication in International Journal of Psychological Research. The assignment of copyright includes both virtual rights and forms of the article to allow the editorial to disseminate the work in the manner which it deems appropriate.
The editorial board reserves the right of amendments deemed necessary in the application of the rules of publication.