You Can Thank Evolution For Your Ability To Spot The Hidden Animal In This Trick Photograph

By 11.28.16

A recent study from Nagoya University in Japan found that when given a set of 4 photographs showing blurred animals humans are capable of identifying one of those animals quicker than the rest, and scientists suspect evolution as the cause of this.

Below, there are 4 photographs and each one shows an animal that has been deeply blurred. From top left (clockwise), you’ll see four different species. Researchers showed participants the same four sets of pictures and asked them to correctly identify which animal appears in each photograph. One animal, the snake, was correctly identified 80% of the time in the pictures below while participants weren’t able to identify the other animals until they were shown less blurry photographs:

Can you accurately identify the snake in the pictures above? If you haven’t found it yet I’ll just give you the answer: top right.

Apparently, we as humans have adapted over thousands of years to be able to discern snakes much more quickly than other animals because snakes pose an inherent danger to humans (well, the poisonous ones do sometimes). There’s actually a ‘Snake Detection Theory‘ that’s been floated around for years (who knew?!) and this study has since corroborated that theory throughout the scientific community.

Here’s what the photographs looked like throughout the experiment:

For analysis on this study, and more information on the Snake Detection Theory, you can head on over to Business Insider and/or ScienceAlert!


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