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Re: Gangs, packs, etc.

Nathan Myhrvold wrote:
> Wolves do compete with grizzly bears in North America. 
>They frequently take wolf kills away from them.  

True, however grizzlies don't hunt in groups and don't fit in the set of
predators that do so.  I was speaking of competition with other group
hunters, not competition all together.  Otherwise I would have added
leopards, cheetahs, and crocodiles to the animals the African lions have
to compete with.  And we can add fossil bears to the list of competitors
of African lions, if you want to throw Smilidon and other fossil animals
into the mix.

> Also, recall that only 10,000 years ago they competed with American 
> lions, the giant short faced bear, giant hyenas, dire wolves, 
> sabertooth cats...

True. We had hefty predators. I wonder if the American wolf of the
neolithic period and prior had the same behaviors as our modern wolves,
since competition with other group predators such as hyenas is missing
nowadays.  Were Dire wolves competitors to our modern wolves?  Did Dire
wolves show a pack mentality?  Smilodon was lots heavier than our modern
cougar-did it hunt in groups?  The American Lion outweighed it's African
counterparts by rather a lot as well. I wonder if they shared pride
hunting as a characteristic or were more similar to the Siberian tiger. 
The La Brea Tar Pits are the only site I've ever read about in any great
detail on these particular predators, and I don't know if the
circumstances can give a very accurate picture of these animals REGULAR
hunting behaviors.

> In Eurasia wolves compete with brown bears, tigers (in part of their
> range)and once competed with lions etc.

Were european lions pack hunters? I had always assumed they were
singular hunters for some reason (perhaps from the depiction of single
lions in caves in France has colored my thinking).  I know tigers will
ocasionally hunt in small family groups (mother and littermates) but did
not know they cooperated to the same extent that African lions did (my
understanding is that the grouping was only temperorary as the cubs grew
up and they didn't continue their association past a certain age of the
cubs).  Is this the case of the eoropean tigers?

-Betty Cunningham 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Betty Cunningham [mailto:bettyc@flyinggoat.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 2:48 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Gangs, packs, etc.

> I ramble on further....
> -Wolves don't compete with other groups of hunting carnivores like
> lions, baboons, hyenas, or african hunting dogs have to, and yet they
> still hunt in groups.  There must be an advantage outside outside of
> bullying and protection.  I suggest that hunting in groups is a
> succesful strategy as it has the young making succesful kills as often
> as the more experienced adults sooner than they would on their own.

Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)