The Ecology of Stress: Predator-Induced Stress And the Ecology of Fear
June 15, 2019
Predator-induced stress has been used to exemplify the concept of stress for close to 100 years. Walter B. Cannon, one of the pioneers of the study of stress, used predatorinduced stress in wildlife in 1915 to exemplify the ‘fight or flight’ response: ‘the physiological provisions for fierce struggle are found not only in the bodies of lower animals that must hunt and kill in order to live, but also in human beings… The increase in blood sugar, the secretion of adrenin and the altered circulation in pain and emotional excitement have been interpreted in the foregoing discussion as biological adaptations to conditions in wildlife which are likely to involve pain and emotional excitement, i.e., the necessities of fighting or flight… The cornering of an animal when in the headlong flight of fear may suddenly turn the fear to fury and the flight to a fighting in which all the strength of desperation is displayed’ (Cannon 1915, p. 211, 275, 286). Nearly a century later, Robert Sapolsky (2004) used a lion attacking a zebra to exemplify the concept of stress in his popular book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.
Author(s): Michael Clinchy, Michael J. Sheriff, and Liana Y. Zanette