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Re: Jurassic Park 4: Electric Boogaloo

In a message dated 2/11/05 2:52:44 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
ajgrant@eastlink.ca writes:

<< It shouldn't. Besides the obvious observation of tigers vs lions, there's 
also numerous insects.  Or you could observe plants. >>

Given the genetic proximity of lions & tigers, I assume they're of roughly 
the same "intelligence" (however we're going to define it.)

Anyway, those damned plants keep moving, forming packs to exploit the 
abundant food sources--it's driving me crazy.

<< Cheetahs typically inhabit areas where there's cover from other predators, 
as most lions will kill cheetahs on-site. Lions, on the other hand, will 
usually take to the more open plains, where there is a larger concentration of 
larger prey species. AFAIK, cheetahs don't attack and kill wildebeest & zebra, 
which lions are quite good at. Cheetahs typically hunt smaller, less dangerous 
gazelle and retreat with it if they can FROM the open to avoid larger 
predators. >>

As you point out, there's overlap here, because I'd heard about lions killing 
cheetahs. I think you're right about the difference in the size of prey taken 
by the respective species, which is probably why the lions cooperate: larger 
prey, rather than more abundant (makes sense to me, anyway).

<< > New World cougars have plenty of prey, but don't form packs (as far as I 

 Prey of what size? Are you referring to rodents? I have NO problem eating a 
cheeseburger (or a double cheeseburger, for that matter) by myself, but I'll 
more than happily share a pizza with friends. But then again, that depends on 
the size of the pizza. If the pizza's a 6", I'd rather keep it to myself. If I 
had a larger one I wouldn't see a trade-off in my personal nourishment and 
friend/group/pack nourishment.  See what I'm getting at yet? >>

You're making me hungry. Don't cougars take deer? I understand this 
particular facet of your argument, yes--but surely it requires more 
(there it is again!) to cooperate with your friends to buy an extra large 
In fact, your having friends argues for a little more brain activity (in 
certain lobes) than those who don't, but we're talking about differences within 
given population here, rather than between species.

<< > 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 
did & it works just fine?

 That's very hard to know. None of us were around for it. >>

Absolutely--then again, isn't "nobody saw it" one of those anti-Evolution 
arguments that can get one timed-out on this list?

<< Various predators will tolerate each other and work together at limited 
times of the year when there is a mutual benefit, although the rest of the time 
they are highly territorial. One could reason that if the gain from working 
together became more common for longer intervals, it would became habitual 
eventually. Also, if siblings were fortunate enough to survive together and had 
developed a method of group hunting that was beneficial enough given prey 
availability, they could teach it to their respective offspring. >>

Speculative, but sure, why not?

<< Any member of the Homo sapiens should be especially careful whenever they 
speak of the intelligence of other creatures. Imagine how intelligent we would 
look to another race observing the actions of a smokers, given the 
life-shortening effects for a trade-off of relieving mental stress. >>

I don't think you have to step outside the species to see that (wrote the 
non-smoker): Humans do plenty of stupid things, I think we can all agree. 
However, we're also (AFAIK) the only ones that can DISCUSS the intelligence of 
species, which means we get to set the terms of the debate.

<< The predators you mention exhibit teamwork.  How much intelligence does it 
really take to know when another individual is tired and you have a better 
shot because you're closer? People make jokes all the time about sports players 
being dumb as a proverbial post, even though they excel in their sport on a 
team. >>

Does it not take intelligence to know that another individual is covering 
THAT avenue of escape, so I'll watch THIS one? There's an element of trust here 
in that it's another individual that I'll share the kill with, whichever of us 
takes down the antelope.  I'm not an athlete; there are some much smarter than 
others, based on hearing them speak (most of them can do that) & it's 
probably fair to say that their relative intelligence does not directly 
with their particular levels of skill within the sport--but once again, this is 
difference within a species, rather than between separate specific 
populations. Surely your average football player is slightly smarter than your