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Re: Tyrannosaur hunting strategies (was Re: How Did HadrosaursSurvive?)

From: "Brett Booth" <brettbooth@worldnet.att.net>
re: cooperative behaviour

> I've never heard this, everything I know on crocs says that they are
> canniblistic and would just as soon eat the young croc as the mammal. I
> they will share a kill like komodo Dragons, but from what i know they
> hunt coopertively. They hunt and capure an animal and the other crocs in
> area come over and 'help' eat the food.

Observations on cooperative hunting in crocs are not too hard to find in the
croc literature, and there's plenty of material on cooperative hunting in
older works (60's and 70's) by Hugh Cott and Tony Pooley on Nile crocodiles
for example. Despite efforts by certain television documentaries to simplify
croc behaviour into "eat or be eaten" there is plenty of interesting
communication and cooperation going on between "tiny archosaur brains".
We've found some fascinating cooperative behaviours in recent years in
several of the more social croc and caiman species. Some communication is
clearly necessary (mainly visual, olfactory) and it doesn't need to be
complex, but it can be subtle. Remember these animals primarily live in
water, which is an ideal medium for the distribution of low frequency sound
(infrasound) and chemical signals, both of which crocs are adept at
producing and receiving.

Consider whether cooperative hunting is going to benefit the species
involved in the environment they live in - it's not the typical method of
prey capture for crocs, but when large prey resources become available (eg.
large densities of fish, large individuals) it pays to join forces. For
example, Nile crocs and caimans exhibit "damming" behaviour (my unofficial
description) where they use their bodies to literally dam fish in front of
them to increase capture success. There's definite purpose behind it.

Adam Britton