Apparently there is a biological reason the sound designers turn to the animal world for inspiration. According to a study published in Biology Letters and reported by Wired, “the harshness and unpredictability of these sounds is thought to be a vocal adaptation fine-tuned for quickly capturing a listener’s attention.”
Biologists studied the soundtrack of scenes in 102 classic movies, from Lawrence of Arabia to Aliens that were meant to elicit a highly tense state. They fed the recordings into analytical tools designed by bioacousticians at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and came to some remarkable conclusions.
Check out this article in Wired to learn more.