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Re: Hominids as prey, was Re: Theropod Bias?

Joshua Smith wrote:
> Joe Daniel wrote:
> >
> > One answer to why they would have passed us up is that most predators
> > seem to be somewhat hardwired for particular prey items.  They will
> > often pass up food that is easier to get simply because it isn't on
> > their menu.  This changes as they get older and begin to lose the
> > ability to catch their regular prey or when their normal prey is scarce.
> > Then they will begin to experiment on other animals, like us.  This may
> > be what happened to the unlucky austras.
> >
>         That only happens if the environment is ideal with respect to all
> memebers of the tropic groups that exist in it (a situation that rarely
> occurs).  If there is the slightest bit of stress on the stability of the
> groups, then predators become creatures of occasion, going after whatever
> gets in front of them, including other predators.

Not quite as rare as you seem to think as most predators react this way.  But I 
insofar as stress placed upon a predator's ability to catch preferred prey will 
them to switch to easier more available prey pretty easily.  Seems we disagree 
on how commonly predators stick to their preferred prey.  Unfortunately, I 
don't know 
of any study that has really looked at this and all the info I have is 
anecdotal or as 
tidbits tossed out from people "knowledgable in their field," i.e.  the 
word of people I know studying predator/prey relationships in the UA system.

Joe Daniel