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Re: Jurassic Park 4: Electric Boogaloo



In a message dated 2/9/05 6:09:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
ajgrant@eastlink.ca writes:

<< I'm truthfully getting sick of the solo vs pack-hunting talks.  Pack 
hunting has NOTHING to do with intelligence.  It has to do with the environment 
& 
food availability which are both intertwined.  If there's enough food to 
consistently support a pack, that's most likely how they will live.  If the 
prey 
population density is low, the predator should be solitary, ie. lions vs 
tigers. 
>>


"NOTHING to do with intelligence"? This seems a little sweeping.

Leaving aside, if I may, the idea that a pack might constitute too dense a 
predator population to be supported by "slim pickin's" (in which case, the pack 
COULD not survive, but probably wouldn't have formed in the first place): Why 
would it be more likely that a pack will form, based on the availability of 
food, unless there are other factors at play? It seems to me there are enough 
counterexamples (among tetrapods, anyway) that test this "rule:" cheetahs in 
Africa share the environment & food supply with lions (which are exceptions 
among 
the Felidae as far as communal hunting); New World cougars have plenty of 
prey, but don't form packs (as far as I know). Is a dearth of prey the reason 
tigers, leopards, jaguars, bears, and foxes tend to be solitary, or is it more 
likely that that's what their ancestors did & it works just fine?

Wolves form packs that cooperate in the hunt, as do lions. They don't just go 
after the prey en masse, side-by-side - they take up positions, drive their 
quarry to fellow predators, relieve one another when a chaser gets tired, etc. 
Surely this involves higher social intelligence which tigers and other loners 
don't need.

Chip Howell
www.geocities.com/vorompatra/