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In the movie "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore", one of the characters comes up with the idea of "limbic mimicry" to distract dangerous animals from violent behavior. Please see the details below to have a better idea (in a spoiler tag because it contains spoilers from the movie):

While freeing his brother Theseus Scamander from Erkstag prison used by the German Ministry of Magic, Newt outmaneuvers an army of baby Manticores (scorpion-like creatures) using "limbic mimicry" to distract them from violent behavior, forcing them to copy his dance-like movements that mimic the appearance of the creatures. Theseus begins to copy Newt's movements as well when they were escaping. enter image description here

Is there an example of this from real life? Of course, in the movie, it is a bit exaggerated for cinematic effect and they are fantastic animals.

However, I wonder if certain movements can distract animals from violent confrontations and is there a term for this in biology? (it can be animal vs animal also)

I know there is mimicry in biology which is an evolved resemblance between an organism and another object or another species as an anti-predator adaptation. However, it is about appearance. I couldn't find examples related to movements.

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There's lots of different behaviours to avoid angering animals and to avoid attack. There are various technical terms for those things, but they aren't a formal field of study as far as I know.

Here is an example of someone with experience interacting with lions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC7DuEEk-zY I'd say the main reason why the lion stays calm is that the human stays very calm and portrays a sense of absolute certainty in his movements.

Someone in Botswana walked up to a female lion who was keeping some babies, and she looked very angry... So he walked backwards very slowly, maintaining eye contact, trying to appear tall. and everything was fine. If he'd turned his back and run that's is a behaviour that would have provoked an attack. Most carnivores are triggered to attack by flight or fear.

I was confronted with 50 angry bulls in a field once, and having lived near cattle for many years, I could see that they were particularly menacing and angry. I mimicked a different gait than I would normally have to look like a non-menacing animal, and their behaviour changed and the looked at me confused rather than angry, while i walked past them, I noticed the difference because at first they charged towards me, and then they didn't take a single step when I changed my behaviour to look like a weak old human.

Angry predators are particularly difficult to dissuade, i.e. dogs.

As far as scorpions go, they attack pretty much anything that has the right size and movement to represent a prey, i.e. generally a lot smaller than them.

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  • $\begingroup$ I knew some erudite geek(s) would downvote this so i kindof wrote it for that purpose :)/ $\endgroup$ May 24 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ +1 I upvoted. Some people don't appreciate interesting/challenging questions (unless it includes some bloated babble perhaps). This is not an easily answerable question as it is in the field of ethology, and possibly a less studied category of mimicry and you tried your best to answer with observational experiences. $\endgroup$
    – ermanen
    May 24 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the lion vs. man video also. It is very much related. I can't believe he did something like this for the sake of science :) $\endgroup$
    – ermanen
    May 24 at 21:55
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Locomotor mimicry is what I've found while searching and it is very related.

Locomotor mimicry is a subtype of Batesian mimicry in which animals avoid predation by mimicking the movements of another species phylogenetically separated. This can be in the form of mimicking a less desirable species or by mimicking the predator itself. Animals can show similarity in swimming, walking, or flying of their model animals.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotor_mimicry

There are three types mentioned: Terrestrial, Aerial, Inanimate object. However, the examples include small animals like spiders and insects like butterflies, moths, drone flies.

The most common form of locomotor terrestrial mimicry is found in ant-mimicking spiders. These mimics are capable of antennal illusions and similar gait patterns as an ant, which is shown in the jumping spider family (Araneae, Salticidae).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotor_mimicry

enter image description here

The ghost pipefish is the only bigger animal mentioned as an example of inanimate object locomotor mimicry and they resemble sea vegetation and also sway in water like them.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Good call, was about to add locomotor mimicry and you noted it first. Most weird locomotion dissuasion i've seen this year is a stack of 50 processionary caterpillars in the grass, all twitching together in sychronous waves 1-2 times per second. Looked very extraterrestrial. Same as this with 50 of them youtu.be/mzhGebtRmgI $\endgroup$ May 27 at 8:53

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