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Re: Follow-up on Lions of Savuti

-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Dunn <majestic_cheese@yahoo.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Date: Monday, February 08, 1999 1:02 PM
Subject: Follow-up on Lions of Savuti

>Well, for the record, I read the chapter relating to this kind of
>hunting, "Against the Odds," and, as related there, the lions in
>Savuti prey on very young elephant calves, not on adult elephants as
>has been described.  One male lion is described as *tackling and
>knocking over* such a calf.
>Still pretty audacious, but, well ....
I just got off the phone with Dr Shoemaker and he assures me that adult
elephants are being taken in the Savuti.  It has been witnessed by field
personnel he trusts, but not personally by him.  These animals are taken
much the same way giraffe and buffalo are.  He has no details on sizes of
the adults and the field population he knows about was 2 animals, so you
draw your own conclusions.

Also, the cut off for juveniles and adolescents is about ten years.  A ten
year old elephant  is 6-7 foot high and  weighs roughly 5000 lbs.  There is
a large variation in adolescent size and adults.  He does not know if bull
elephants have been taken or not, but we both thought it unlikely (his
opinion meaning much more than mine).

I have no idea if their field data is going to be published, but I would
imagine so.  It is not unusual for these kinds of field studies to draw
media attention.  I'm sure it helped pay the bills!

As Dr Holtz has pointed out several times on this list, you cannot draw
conclusions about extinct animal behavior from extant ones.  You may weigh
the data and form an opinion based on a preponderance of the data.  The fact
that lions can take down giraffe and elephant  with cooperative hunting
techniques may or may not mean something about dino behavior.  We know lions
have larger brains than theropods which PROBABLY means something in favor of
the lions.  Also, lions have  MULTIPLE retractable claws making it possible
to mount prey larger than itself "relatively" easy.

For the purists on the list, I know this is heresay, however I am satisfied
knowing Dr Shoemaker long enough to trust him.  I'll still reread the book.


Michael Teuton