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Re: Gangs, packs, etc.

At 17:48 -0400 5/18/99, Betty Cunningham wrote:

>Were there any statistics on these same lions on how frequently/often
>the same lion would kill? a particular two lions would kill? or a
>particular pride would kill?  I suspect a group would hunt sooner after
>a succesful kill than an individual would as the individuals would be
>hungrier.  Thus the time that each indidual spends hunting increases
>while in a group.
>Were there statistics with these same lions on how often a single lion
>succesfully comandeered a carcass from another groups' kill as opposed
>to an individual succesfully doing the same thing?  I suspect again the
>group would be more succesful at comandeering/bullying possesion of a
>kill than an individual would.  The advantage on the African savannah is
>obviously that a group of carnivores will protect the kill against other
>groups of carnivores better than an individual can, and be better at
>bullying as well.

A small point not to be overlooked: it's a heckuva lot easier to drive a
pack of hyenas away from their kill if you're a lion in a pack of your own
than it is if your alone.

In fact, ignore hunting for a second - or accept at face value the fact
that there is no energy benefit to pack-hunting.  Just look at pirating
kills from other animals.

A lone lion can only take prey from a cheetah (or three) or a leopard if it
hasn't yet treed its booty.

A pack of lions could do the same, and drive off a pack of dogs, hyenas, or
any lesser sized hunter.

The cost of taking kills from others is significantly less than the cost of
hunting for yourself.  But you can't take on a pack of enemies alone.

I think this might only apply to lions, however - and perhaps savannah
Africa has undergone an evolutionary social arms race.  Lions are pretty
much the only cats that hang in packs, after all.  Would it apply to
wolves?  Not presently, but perhaps canid ancestors faced just this same
arms race in the past, and now live with that legacy.

Then again, maybe I just need a nap....

Laurie Nyveen                                  lawrence@dsuper.net
Editor, Netsurfer Digest - <http://www.netsurf.com/nsd/index.html>
DNRC Minister of Adding "ue" to Words That End in "log"
"All we are, basically, are monkeys with car keys."
                             - Grandma Woody (Northern Exposure)