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Re: DINOSAUR digest 6



I'd like to unlurk and disagree

> There's a point that's been raised on this list that could use some
> clarification.  Among extant large mammals, predators do not "control"
>prey populations.

While it may be valid to say that predators probably don't eat enough to
hold a population in check I think you are overlooking their true value.

A wolf usually can't catch a healthy caribou because they can outrun or
outswim them. Who then does the wolf catch? The unfit. Unfit physically
or mentally, but unfit. Who lives to repopulate the heard? The fit.

The Eskimo have a saying that goes something like "the wolf keep the
caribou strong". Predators do indeed play an important role in
"controlling" prey populations by determining which genes are out and
about.

The deer herd here in Utah has been genetically weakened by two forces:
1) most predators are gone and 2) our deer hunters, nattily sporting a
room temperature IQ consistently go after the biggest and strongest to
kill. I would venture to guess that at some time in the future our
entire herd will be so weakened that it will not survive the winter. Two
things should happen to promote a healthy herd: bring back the predators
and extinct the deer hunter. Yes the herd is large, but a disaster lurks
just out of sight.