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    • #16741
      thekdog
      Participant

      A friend and I were having a discussion about predator and prey intelligence levels, he claimed that predators will always have higher intelligence than their prey. I simply couldn’t believe that that could be a universal rule so I said I would find a an exclusion to the rule, after a bit of searching I haven’t found much information other than crocodiles and sharks being possible candidates. Can you guys help me out here? thanks in advance 😀

    • #112068
      JackBean
      Participant

      Let me ask you this. Which one you think has higher intelligence – monkeys/apes or big cats?

    • #112070
      thekdog
      Participant

      monkeys/apes.

    • #112072
      JackBean
      Participant

      You see, and yet there are big cats which hunt monkeys. The ability to hunt is not based on intelligence, but on your senses, speed, mimics etc.

    • #112981
      Biologist123
      Participant

      In a preditor prey relationship there is often one preditor and many prey, take for example a coyote and wild rabbits. The rabbits must hide and learn to live in fear of the coyote, but the coyote doesn’t have to be smarter than the rabbits because there are so many, and if it misses one, another will more than likely be close by.

    • #115053

      Maybe predators are not necessarily cleverer than their prey, but in most cases they’re larger. Larger size in the prey happens to be case # 6 on the first list ("Ethology") of my bilingual lists of zoological exceptions at excepciones-zoologicas.blogspot.com, where so far only the foreword and the first list can be seen. That case is related to case # 61 on the same list –parasites that are larger than the host– and to one of the weirdest exceptions on the second list ("Morphology"), which is the unique case of the paradoxical frog, whose tadpole is bigger than the adult. Please let me know about any additional examples. The complete set of lists includes nearly a thousand cases and can be useful for students who want to study Biology as a career.

    • #115073
      Gannet
      Participant

      My opinion it is not a matter of which is more intelligent, the knowledge each have is learned by experience and some prey and predator coevolve such as Ringed Seals and Polar Bears.
      Also, usually when the predator(s) hunt it seeks out the weakest or slowest: young, old, sick .

    • #115082
      quote Gannet:

      Also, usually when the predator hunts it seeks out the weakest or slowest: young, old, sick .

      True, as I found out years ago. This is exactly the same matter relating to case # 4 on the said first list: "Predators that do not choose as victims (= prey) the weakest individuals".

    • #115085
      Gannet
      Participant

      Yesterday while I was further researching this question found this website which explains prey survival strategies from becoming dinner http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/behavior-under-risk-how-animals-avoid-becoming-23646978

      My only issue with this article is the statement, I made bold in the quote

      quote :

      Detecting predators
      In order to effectively avoid and respond to predation, animals must first identify the presence of a potential predator. The ability to recognize predator cues is essential for the initiation of antipredator behavior. This can be innate, for example, animals can identify predators as a threat even if they have never encountered them before, or learned only after exposure to a predatory threat

      which they did not provide any examples or detail explanation

    • #115094
      quote Gannet:

      (…) My only issue with this article is the statement “animals can identify predators as a threat even if they have never encountered them before (…)”.

      I know of two cases of instinctive (= not learned) reactions to predators: 1) apes go into a panic whenever they see a snake, and 2) certain chicks get scared when they see a long shape passing by above them, advancing along a trajectory that makes a right angle to the length of the shape, because it looks like a big gliding bird, even though they still don’t know about raptorials.

    • #115095
      Gannet
      Participant

      Thanks piscilactovegetarian for replying. It is great to have someone to discuss this subject

      My thoughts about instinctive knowledge the "jury is still out". Currently, my hypothesis is that self-preservation induces fear of everything in which the experience, if they survived, determines the knowledge they learned.

      Found some more info about this subject at http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-diversity-of-behavior-15129167

      quote :

      Animal behavior is also influenced by physiological mechanisms. Chemicals known as corticosteroids often become elevated in individuals during stressful conditions. Under these circumstances reproductive and territorial behaviors are suppressed and escape behaviors are promoted instead (Wingfield et al. 1998). Research has shown that corticosteroids may also affect learning and memory acquisition (Thaker et al. 2010). To test this, researchers inhibited corticosterone elevation in Eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) during an encounter with a novel attacker (Figure 3). They found that the inhibition impaired immediate escape responses by lizards and limited learning and recall during future encounters. Thus, elevated corticosteroids are necessary for not only antipredatory behaviors but also aversive learning in prey species.
    • #115111

      Gannet, your concept doesn’t agree with the facts. One can frighten the young of certain bird species by moving above them along a straight line an object shaped like a bird with outstretched wings. Other shapes won’t elicit that reaction. You’re almost like Aristotle rejecting Plato’s notion of the "innate ideas" (built-in ideas, ideas we’re born with) and saying that "there is nothing in the mind that has not previously gone through the senses" (in your case, at least as far as unlearned reactions to predators are concerned [actually, unlearned by the individual but obviously learned by the species and added to the genome]), by which he meant that at birth the mind is a "clean slate", a blank page.

    • #115132
      Gannet
      Participant
      quote piscilactovegetarian:

      Gannet, your concept doesn’t agree with the facts. One can frighten the young of certain bird species by moving above them along a straight line an object shaped like a bird with outstretched wings. Other shapes won’t elicit that reaction. You’re almost like Aristotle rejecting Plato’s notion of the “innate ideas” (built-in ideas, ideas we’re born with) and saying that “there is nothing in the mind that has not previously gone through the senses” (in your case, at least as far as unlearned reactions to predators are concerned [actually, unlearned by the individual but obviously learned by the species and added to the genome]), by which he meant that at birth the mind is a “clean slate”, a blank page.

      Good Day piscilatovegetarian – I am not rejecting the idea of "innate ideas" I am just challenging the concept. I concur with taxes and reflexes being innate, and that evolutionary adaptation affecting genes which changes a species physiology (which includes the nervous system).

      I challenge the concept of the following behaviors being instinctive and provide why I think they are learned:

      • antipredation behavior – by observing the reactions of others of its species to the present of something different.
        migration – could be yearlings just following previous generations of their species
        nest building – by observing previous generations building nests
        imprinting – has been claimed by Lorenz as instinctive behavior which based on definition cannot be modified; however, imprinting has been shown to decrease with time.

      I believe our conversation has digress away from the OP’s question and I will either piggyback onto either an existing applicable thread or start a new topic on Instinctive Behavior

    • #115395
      josem
      Participant

      What if a python eat a human being?

    • #115396
      Sheppie
      Participant

      I wouldn’t make a general rule out of it. Except intelligence there are so many other things to consider that such theory as in subject is simply incomplete and unfair. Like someone earlier mentioned the case or rabbits and coyotes. Rabbits needed to learn how to live in one neighborhood with a coyote so I wouldn’t call them less intelligent. Too many variables. Environment, speed, weigh, tricks, condition, weather and so on and so forth.

    • #115531
      BasicBiology
      Participant

      The difficulty with the concept of innate ideas or innate behaviors is that it is difficult to prove every potential environmental factor did not cause the observed behavior. For example, showing that chicks react to bird-like shapes above them doesn’t prove that another factor did not previously lead to them learning that behavior. Obviously, there are strong cases for innate behavior such as infants pursuing food immediately after birth and juveniles responding with alarm calls at the first time of meeting a predator. I think it is more than likely that animals do have many innate behaviors and ideas but proving that this is the case has proven difficult.

      As for the question of predators always being smarter than their prey, I think you’ve already established that that’s not the case. Humans can be prey for large predators, e.g. sharks, crocs and large cats, and I don’t think many people would argue that humans are less intelligent than any of those predators.

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