Deer In The Czech Republic Have Migration Patterns Guided By Memories Of?
Medieval Trade Routes
The Iron Curtain
Abandoned Logging Roads
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Answer: The Iron Curtain
Researchers tracking the movement of red deer in the Czech Republic discovered something rather curious. Despite the physical ability to travel freely wherever they wished, the deer’s travel routes never crossed the border between the Czech Republic and Germany.
The deer have no political motivation in avoiding international travel, but instead are obeying what amounts to a set of rules passed down, generationally, from doe to fawn. During the Cold War, the entire border between the Czech Republic and West Germany was fenced off with parallel electrified fences and patrolled by armed guards. Crossing the border was a death sentence for the deer and they learned to avoid the entire length of it.
Young red deer spend roughly a year with their mother after birth and it turns out that red deer mothers have, for generations now, been teaching their young to avoid the border. At this point, they could easily cross the border without worry, but the habit is ingrained and although the deer can’t communicate why the area is dangerous to each other, they learn by behavior and avoid it for the rest of their lives—passing the border avoidance on to their offspring.
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How many ingrained habits do we humans have? Lessons aka “rules of thumb” called, in fancy language heuristics, can lead us astray when they no longer apply (i.e., the universe change making them erroneous, obsolete, or if we are lucky just a quaint oddity. We get them from our ancestors or other human beings.
A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows an individual to make a decision, pass judgment, or solve a problem quickly and with minimal mental effort. While heuristics can reduce the burden of decision-making and free up limited cognitive resources, they can also be costly when they lead individuals to miss critical information or act on unjust biases.
Sometimes, it can be quaint when one of those “rules” is observed in the real world that just makes no sense (i.e., “the man should walk on the left side of a woman” so should he need to draw his sword she’d be safe). But other times, to just dangerous to ignore (i.e., the safe following distance when driving).
In any event, this story reminds me about how they train elephants to be bound by a thin leg rope. The elephant is conditioned that they can not escape.
How many limiting beliefs do we have?
How many do I have?
What can’t be seen?