Fear of predators causes PTSD-like changes in brains of wild animals

ScienceDaily | 8/7/2019 | Staff
bluelilly (Posted by) Level 3
A new study by Western University demonstrates that the fear predators inspire can leave long-lasting traces in the neural circuitry of wild animals and induce enduringly fearful behaviour, comparable to effects seen in PTSD research.

The findings of this study, led by Western University's Liana Zanette, Scott MacDougall-Shackleton and Michael Clinchy, were published today in Scientific Reports -- Nature.

Time - Zanette - Students - Collaborators - Effects

For the first time, Zanette, her students and collaborators experimentally demonstrated that the effects predator exposure has on the neural circuitry of fear in wild animals can persist beyond the period of the immediate 'fight or flight' response and instead can remain measurable more than a week later, in animals exposed in the interim to natural environmental and social conditions.

"These results have important implications for biomedical researchers, mental health clinicians, and ecologists," explains Zanette, a biology professor in Western's Faculty of Science and a renowned expert on the ecology and neurobiology of fear. "Our findings support both the notion that PTSD is not unnatural, and that long-lasting effects of predator-induced fear with likely effects on fecundity and survival, are the norm in nature."

Memory - Predator - Encounter - Avoid - Events

Retaining a powerful enduring memory of a life-threatening predator encounter is clearly evolutionarily beneficial if it helps the individual avoid such events in the future and a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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