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Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies Conflict

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QUESTION: Dear Mr. BK,

My name is Tejas. I request you to please accept my entries. Thank you.

I have a few hypothetical questions.

1. Argentinosaurus vs Megalodon, with no habitat or battle zone, just clear space where Megalodon can swim and breathe as in water, and Argentinosaurus can walk as in land.

2. Which are the top 10 most formidable animals in combat, regardless of habitat, both aquatic, terrestrial and aerial?

3. White Rhino vs Hippopotamus

ANSWER: Hello Tejas.

Argentinosaurus vs Megalodon: Argentinosaurus may have been the heaviest dinosaur to ever walk the earth.  Megalodon was the largest known shark ever to exist.  The higher weight estimates for each animal would have the Argentinosaurus weighing almost twice as much as the Megalodon.  If both animals could move in the same space as they normally did, the Megalodon would have a definite mobility advantage.  It would be able to swim around the Argentinosaurus and land multiple bites without putting itself in danger of being hit by the sauropod's tail.  The huge jaws and sharp teeth of the Megalodon would cause serious injuries to the Argentinosaurus, and it would prevail by inducing massive blood loss.  Megalodon wins.


Top 10 most formidable animals in combat
1.  Sperm whale: At 20 meters long & over 60 tons in weight, the sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales.  Its teeth (on its lower jaw) are larger than bananas.  It can also use its tail to strike with.
2.  Killer whale: The killer whale (or orca) can weigh more than an elephant, and can reach 9 meters in length.  It has teeth in the top & bottom jaw, and is highly intelligent.  
3.  Elephant: At over 6 tons in weight, the elephant is the largest land animal.  It has long, sharp tusks that can be used effectively in combat.  
4.  Rhinoceros: Powerful body and long, sharp frontal horn make it a dangerous adversary.
5.  Great white shark: Better in ambush than in combat, but its huge jaws & razor sharp teeth give it one of the greatest weapons in the animal kingdom.
6.  Sawfish: This large fish has a saw-like snout that extends out from its head that can be used to slash opponents with.
7.  Hippopotamus: This highly aggressive animal has huge jaws & sharp canines that can cause serious damage to an opponent with one chomp.
8.  Electric eel: Can produce 600 volts of electricity to stun an animal as large as a horse.
9.  Gaur: This huge, muscular bovid can exceed a ton in weight, and had sharp horns to gore opponents with.
10. Bear: Bears have great strength, endurance, & durability.  Their paws are armed with long claws, and can be used to swipe at adversaries with a lot of power.

In this top 10 I tried not to list similar animals more than once (letting the Great white shark represent all sharks, letting "rhinoceros" represent White, Black, Indian, etc., electric eel represent the electric ray, "bear" represent all large bears, & the sawfish represent swordfish & marlins.  This isn't an easy list to make with precision, but I used the ones I consider to be highest on the list.  If this was a pound-for-pound list, I would consider big cats, wolverines & honey badgers, pitbull terriers, spitting cobras, Japanese giant hornets, wild boars, and many others in the mix.


White Rhinoceros vs Hippopotamus: These animals are similar in weight.  The White rhinoceros has tough hide and 2 nose horns (the front one reaching well over a meter in length).  This rhinoceros is well-adapted to a terrestrial lifestyle, and has strong, sturdy legs that enable it to make powerful turns with its body when using its horn to thrust at an adversary.  The thick-skinned hippopotamus can open it jaws over a meter wide, and have long, lower canines used for slashing and forward-protruding lower incisors used primarily for thrusting (in conflicts).  Hippos are able to move about on land, but their legs are too small (compared to their heavy bodies) to enable them to maintain a prolonged terrestrial lifestyle.  They are well-adapted to the water where their large bodies have buoyancy.  The advantages a White rhino enjoys in this contest is a weapon (horn) that has greater reach than the hippo's weapon (jaws), and stockier legs that allow for more powerful movements on land.  In a realistic confrontation the more aggressive hippo may succeed in driving the rhinoceros away (especially near water where the hippo is territorial), but if both parties are determined to fight, the White rhinoceros is better-equipped to win.  In shallow water the contest would be closer, but as long as the water depth is not enough to greatly impede the rhino's movement, it will still be favored.  A hippopotamus would need a decent weight advantage to be favored against a White (or Black) rhinoceros on land.  White rhinoceros wins.

Best regards.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Mr. BK,

Thank you for your answer! In the Top 10 list, I wish to include prehistoric animals in addition to the modern animals - so, please, I want a top 10 of all animals, prehistoric and extant.
Also, which are the top 10 birds of prey in battle?

Thank you a lot, and please answer my question

Tejas

Answer
Hello again Tejas.

Top 10 most formidable:

1. Pliosaurs.  The huge Liopleurodon possibly reached the length of a sperm whale, and almost weighed as much.  Its 4 flippers enabled it to move with ease through the water, and it was capable of sudden bursts of speed.  Its huge jaws (lined with sharp teeth) were very powerful.  Also included in this group would be the Pliosaurus funkei (predator X), Pliosaurus macromerus, Kronosaurus, and others.

2. Megalodon.  This giant shark was believed to be 2.5 times longer than the modern great white shark, and to have been almost 20 times as heavy.  Its gaping jaws and razor-sharp, serrated teeth would have made it a very dangerous opponent.

3. Sperm whale.  At over 60 tons and over 60ft long, this toothed whale is the undisputed one-on-one champ in the modern seas.

4. Argentinosaurus.  Not the most combative animal, but its sheer size (possibly 80-100 tons) would have made it safe from predation.  it could have easily trampled most other animals if it was determined to do so, and its tail could have been swung with great force.  Other large sauropods could be grouped here as well (Ultrasaurus, Brachiosaurus, Sauroposeidon, etc.).

5. Mosasaurs.  These ocean-dwelling reptiles were long, slender, & very agile.  The largest ones were as long as a school bus and weighed as much as 2 elephants.  Their fearsome jaws would make short work of many adversaries.  

6. Killer whale.  The jaws, mobility, size, and intelligence put this mammal here on the list.

7. Steppe mammoth.  Similar in appearance to an elephant, but over twice as heavy.  Huge, curved tusks could have been used to apply concussive force to an opponent.

8. Triceratops.  This dinosaur weighed more than an elephant (the Eotriceratops was likely heavier still) and had 3 sharp horns (2 long ones over the eyes and a smaller one over its nose) and a protective bony frill.  Included here are any large ceratopsians.

9. Tyrannosaurus rex.  This famous predatory dinosaur weighed more than an elephant, and had extremely powerful jaws lined with teeth almost 20 centimeters long.  Included here would be other large theropods (Carcharodontosaurus, Giganotosaurus, etc.).

10. Deinosuchus.  This huge alligator-like reptile was twice as long as modern-day crocodiles and possibly 8 times as heavy.  Its incredible bite force would have enabled it to tackle large prey items.  Included here are other similar reptiles (Sarcosuchus, Purussaurus, etc.).

This is not a definite list, but a list of 10 that are right up there near the top.  It's possible the Deinosuchus deserves to be ahead of the killer whale, and the Triceratops may deserve to be ahead of the Steppe mammoth.  Other sea animals that deserve consideration here are Dunkleosteus (giant armored fish), Shastasaurus (looks like a porpoise/dolphin, but is the size of a sperm whale), Basilosaurus (long, slender 10-ton carnivore), the blue whale (largest animal to ever live), and possibly several others.  On land, ones that can also be considered for this list are Elasmotherium, Ankylosaurus (and other similar armored reptiles), the African elephant, the woolly rhinoceros, Megatherium, Paraceratherium, and possibly several others.

Top 10 birds of prey:

1. Haast's eagle.  Over 50% heavier than any modern eagle, this raptor preyed on large, flightless moas (200kg; almost 4 meters tall).

2. Phillipine eagle.  Powerful build, powerful talons & beak, weighs around 9kg.  Almost even  with 3 & 4.

3. Harpy eagle.  Powerful build, powerful talons & beak, weighs around 9kg.  Almost even with 2 & 4.

4. Steller's sea eagle.  Powerful build, powerful talons & beak, weighs around 9kg.  Almost even with 2 & 3.

5. Martial eagle.  70% the weight of the eagles listed 2-4, but a very fierce & capable predator.

6. Golden eagle/Bald eagle/White-tailed eagle.  Over 6kg each, aggressive & combative.

7. Crowned eagle. Over 4kg, very fierce hunter.  Can probably be considered at #6.

9. Eurasian eagle-owl.  Over 4kg, very fierce hunter.

10. Wedge-tailed eagle.  About 5.5kg.  Can be aggressive; may deserve to be #9.

Eagles dominate this list, but other birds would actually be able to compete with them.  The Bearded vulture (lammergeyer) & the Lappet-faced vulture have the size to be considered for this list.  The huge Andean condor and the feisty secretary bird aren't too far behind.  Size isn't everything (the Crowned eagle's fierceness ranks it higher than some other heavier birds), but most of the time the larger bird-of-prey will have the edge if their weapons are similar.  The Haast's eagle is definitely #1 here, and the next 3 on the list are probably interchangeable.  The Martial eagle is definitely #5.  The rest isn't set in stone, but the ranking is mainly based on size, weaponry, aggressiveness, & size of prey typically taken.  There were other large prehistoric birds that might qualify as a bird-of-prey (like Argentavis) that could probably hold their own against any bird on this list due to sheer size.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

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BK

Expertise

Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.

Experience

From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Education/Credentials
Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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