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RE: Gangs, packs, etc.

Sorry, my comments were only about mammalian carnivores - primarily cats,
dogs & hyenas.  The conclusion did not spell this out.  I did not mean to
imply that primates, or for that matter other mammals (for example, orca,
dophins and whales) do not cooperate in a deeper form.  Humans of course DO
cooperate in a deep sense.  There are reports of chimpanzees hunting baboons
or monkeys suggest that cooperation is crucial.

Also, the example you give is cooperation during herbivore foraging.
Although this may seem related, there are a number of reasons that it is a
quite different task.  Hunting is different because it involves complex
decisions and motor skills in real time (fruit doesn't run), and involves
risk to the predator (fruit doesn't usually fight back, prey animals often

Although my remarks did not include primates, you don't need a primate to
communicate location of food while foraging - it occurs in MANY species.
Ants do this with a chemical trail, bees do it with a special dance.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Bois [mailto:jbois@umd5.umd.edu]
Sent: Friday, May 14, 1999 9:27 PM
To: Nathan Myhrvold
Cc: 'Z966341@wpo.cso.niu.edu'; dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: Gangs, packs, etc.

On Fri, 14 May 1999, Nathan Myhrvold wrote:

> -  Pack hunting by mammals is not supported by hard data.  If it exists,
> does not effect hunting success, which is very hard to explain.  Most
> likely, so called cooperative pack hunting is really just gang hunting -
> simple piling on.

Well, how about "pack" or cooperative foraging by Toque macaques of Sri
Lanka.  They spread out through a forest looking for ephemerally fruiting
trees.  The trees bear lots of fruit--too much for one monkey--and when a
monkey finds a fruiting tree it makes a special call.  The other monkeys
respond and the entire troop--mostly related individuals-- feeds.
Wolfgang Dittus has described this communal behavior.