The brain is wired to detect the threat of snakes, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers studied a pair of macaque monkeys born in captivity who had not encountered snakes before the experiment. When shown an image of a snake, the monkeys' brains fired off rapid fear responses far stronger than those recorded when other threatening images were shown. "It really strengthens the argument that snakes are very important for the evolution of primates," said University of California at Davis anthropology professor Lynne Isbell, who co-authored the study.
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