An Application of Autotomy
Here’s an amusing stock photo captioned by the “It’s Like They Know Us” Tumblr Blog.
For those of you with computers and without small children, it’s funny because it’s not true. My children, in particular, have a keen sense of when I’m working on something really important on the computer. They will both drop everything and approach my machine, sticky fingers widespread.
When I see them tettering my way, know what the first thing I do is? I quickly unplug my USB mouse. While they are distracted moving that around and doing futile clicks, I have just enough time to sign out of the production database server, save important documents, or move the laptop to a higher elevation. By the time they realize the mouse isn’t doing anything, the laptop (and all my production data!) are safe.
I was enacting that one day and I realized I’m wasn’t particularly inventive. I was employing the exact same defense mechanism salamanders and seemingly other “lower” creatures have used for millions of years.
I drop the USB mouse to distract the predator. The salamander drops its tail. : )
Salamander Dropping Tail (Photo by Gary Nafis of California Herps)
Distracted Modern Day Predator