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Re: Predator relationships

Michael wrote:
> > From:          Chris Campbell <sankarah@ou.edu>
>  Both hyenas and lions get away with stealing food from
> > cheetahs not because the cheetahs are too small to fight back but rather
> > because they have a pathological fear of fighting.  They won't do it,
> > even if they have a good chance of winning.
> Cheetahs will fight back if they think they can.  They run
> jackals and vultures off routinely(if the latter don't overwhelm
> them).  They are just nervous high strung animals built for speed.
> They are no match for lion, hyena or leopard as you pointed out.

Yes, jackals and vultures might be driven off, and jackals might even be
harassed.  Interestingly, though, the cheetah is on average larger than
most leopards; it could fight off a lone hyena or maybe even two
relatively easily, but not without risk of injury.  Jackals and vultures
just don't fight back, and are thus easy pickings.  :)
> >Hyenas and lions face off  not because they're matched in size and
> >strength but rather because the hyaenas run in larger packs and are
> >extremely aggressive (spotted  hyenas, mind you; totally different
> >story with the smaller striped and  brown hyenas).
> I would look at that relationship more in terms of competition
> rather than hyenas being that aggressive.  If hyenas think they have
> the upper hand they will press lions who may or may not assert
> themselves, depending on what they are defending and numbers/support.
> Hyena are more persistent in my eyes than aggressive, although I
> wouldn't tell that to one face to face without a stick or something.

The spotted hyenas are astoundingly aggressive, though I agree it may be
more appropriate to think of things in terms of competition.  Of course,
I'm not entirely convinced large social mammals are incapable of hate;
that may be part of it as well.
> I suspect predator relationships were just as dynamic and complex in
> the Cretaceous.  I'm not sure what could chase off a Tyrannosaur, but
> who knows.  I'd love to be able to go back and observe, but not
> ground based.:))

Definitely agreed.  :)  The thought of something like _Nanotyrannus_ or
other similar species ganging up to harass and browbeat a big ol'
_T._rex_ is not without its appeal.  I suspect that the various
Dromaeosaurs and large therapods had very different lifestyles, and thus
probably didn't come into contact much.  This is one of the few things I
liked about _The_Lost_World_ (the other being the nifty-keen effects);
the portrayal of 'raptors as grassland predators and the _T._rex_ as a
more forest bound species was interesting and fairly sensible.