Shades of scarlet have always been linked with danger and dominance, and interestingly, animal colouration research confirms this: even in contests for food, many animals meekly give way to any competitor coloured red. This instinctive response to colour suggests that fear is an innate response to potential perils. For humans, our in-built fears can be traced back to our ancestors, who faced extreme weather conditions and a relentless pressure to outwit wild predators. Fear sensitised them to the presence of these threats and allowed them to anticipate what lay ahead and respond accordingly, improving their chances of survival. Even today, these primal instincts persist. People experience an atavistic fear when they view menacing-looking wildlife in highly secure enclosures, despite being perfectly safe, and never having met or been harmed by such animals before. Evidently, our innate fears are instrumental in shaping our behaviour.
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