Fear of Spiders Can Develop Before Birth

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Scientists figure humans may be born with a fear of spiders and snakes, healthy phobias that up the odds of survival in the wild. It’s not known how such an inborn fear might develop, however.

Now researchers have proven that unborn crickets can gain a fear of spiders based on their mother’s harrowing experiences.

Scientists put pregnant crickets into terrariums containing a wolf spider. The spiders’ fangs were covered with wax so the spiders could stalk but not kill the pregnant crickets. After the crickets laid their eggs, the researchers compared the behavior of the offspring with offspring whose mothers hadn’t been exposed to spiders.

The differences were dramatic, the scientists said.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year Stripped of Prize Over Staged Photo of “Wolf Jumping Over Fence”

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“Wolf jumping over fence”

The Natural History Museum’s wildlife photographer of the year has been stripped of his £10,000 prize, after judges found he was likely to have hired a tame Iberian wolf to stage the image of a species seen rarely in the wild.

 

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