Study Reveals Human-like Fearfulness of Fruit Flies

May 20, 2015 / No Comments

Ever seen a nervy fly? Probably it’s hard to break down the fearfulness in such a tiny inspect, but not so for David J. Anderson.  The biologist from California Institute of Technology has discovered that fearful flies exhibit fear when threatened, just the way a human does.

fruitfly Study Reveals Human like Fearfulness of Fruit Flies

Often we interpret insects as having robotic reflexes. But David doesn’t share the same point of view with his experiments. His revelation leads to the belief that these flies possess fearfulness that either keep them off the threat, or to subdue it.

The choice gets made based on the scalability factor, which injects greater fear when dealing with higher threats.  A human keeps himself off the threat by fleeing, which is the form of primitive emotion called context generalization.

In the study carried out by the researchers at Caltech, hungry fruit flies where filled in a chamber which was also supplied with ample quantity of food.  An automated fan blade was used to shadow an image over the food. It was noted that the fruit flies kept themselves off the food item with the shadow was cast.

The bigger the shadow appeared, quicker was the rate of fleeing from the food source. It was also noted that even with the absence of shadow, these fireflies kept away from the food source on which they had once noticed the shadow.

This form of lasting fearfulness is similar to the human emotional breakdown, known as persistence. David says that the fear induced is more of an emotional breakdown in flies rather than just a robotic reflex.

David and his co-researchers haven’t yet come to any conclusion regarding their study. It also won’t be a surprise if the discovery forms a catalyst in emotional study of humans on neurological levels. The study has been published in Current Biology.