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Re: More on Gangs, packs, etc.

Philidor wrote:

> Given that herbivorous dinosaurs were intelligent enough to form
> herds and 

As sardines, gnats and cellular slime moulds are intelligent enough
to aggregate, I'm sure herbivorous dinosaurs were.  I'm also sure
they were intelligent enough to avoid each other, if and when that
was beneficial.

> assuming that predators are more intelligent than prey (or so I've
> read), 

A dangerous assumption.  I wouldn't say that leopards are more
intelligent than monkeys, or pike more intelligent than ducks, or
snakes more intelligent than mice.  Or pitcher plants more
intelligent than wasps. :)

> wouldn't the predators be smart enough to meet herding behavior by
> some type 
> of co-operative approach of their own?  

They were smart enough to be able to group together, but that doesn't
mean they did.  As recently pointed out, hunting in groups is often
no more successful than doing it alone.

> Maybe 
> it's just my knowledge of committees, which is a very derived
> concept, but 
> co-operation seems to require leadership and enforcement.

Leadership?  Enforcement?  I can't think of any nonhuman examples,
except insofar as animals bully each other into giving up food or not
breeding.  This is always to the advantage of the bully and the
disadvantage of the victim - whether it aids the group is irrelevant.

> How far away from the logically necessary have I gotten?

At least you haven't got dinosaurs talking and wearing waistcoats.

> Also, I'm impressed by the fact that crocs carry their young in
> their mouths 
> and that neighborhood flocks send out detachments to follow my cats
> around to 
> sound alarms.  Seems like that has to be learned behavior rather
> than hard 
> wiring, so I tend to believe that not highly intelligent animals
> can 
> intentionally solve problems and pass the information along. 

How would crocs learn to carry their young in their mouths?  They
don't get many attempts, and if they do it right there's no reward. 
(They might get a tasty reward if they do it wrong, though!)

Flocks of birds don't 'send' out detachments.  Individual birds react
to the threat.

> Wouldn't that 
> be another advantage for a herd and pack/gang? 

Parents can pass information on to their offspring.  No other adults
need be present.

All the best,

Bill Adlam
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