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RE: archive searching restored and more on "packs"
I beg to differ on the cost point.
It is true that there is one study of African wild dogs that claims that the
total energy is less in a pack, but that study has been disputed by the
findings or other workers who also watch wild dogs. In addition, the
claimed advantage is so small that one can argue it is within experimental
The vast majority of studies continue to show that there is no hunting
success increase in "pack" hunting. Packer and many others have come up with
many different ways of looking at hunting success - per individual, per
energy expended, per km run, and the conclusion remains the same - hunting
success in ANY definition that people have come up with INCLUDING energy
expended does not seem to increase with pack size.
This isn't a misrepresentation of current research - it basically is a
summary of current research.
The explanations that seem to work best for group hunting is that the
animals in question are social. They hang out together, and when they hunt,
they hunt together. Social living probably has some benefit, but not in
hunting per se.
Opportunity cost is an interesting economic concept, and as it happens, I am
working on a game theoretic analysis of pack hunting using it. I am not
done yet, but it is my hope that this can throw some light on the topic.
However, both opportunity cost, and indeed any measure of cost is a side
issue to the main point, which is that that deeply cooperative "true pack
hunting" by large mammilian carnivores is elusive at best.
Regardless of whether you assign low or high cost or opportunity cost, the
basic message is that the supposedly high intelligence required to cooperate
"as well as" lions or wolves either has no benefit, or it requires some very
exotic definition of cost and benefit in order to show a profit.