For two hundred years, scientists have believed that the eyespots of butterflies and moths evolved to look like large eyes in order to frighten off predators. A bird might think that the bright eyespots are the eyes of a concealed cat, for example.
It sounds logical, but there is a hidden assumption: We are assuming that a predator such as a bird pays attention to the same features that we would.. But does it?
Cambridge behavioral ecologist Martin Stevens and his team decided to test the longstanding assumption:
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