Eli5: Why do ear muscles involuntarily contract when anxious?

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Eli5: Why do ear muscles involuntarily contract when anxious?

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It’s thought to be an evolutionary remnant from when we had different shaped ears and more control over which direction they were facing. Think of when a dog or cat becomes alert – their ears perk up and point in the direction of the sound. Additionally there’s some non-verbal communication that happens with animals who can control their ears, like cats laying their ears back (likely an advantage in a fight, as this flattens a vulnerable part of the body). This could have been a feature of a long-distant ancestor of ours.