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Interspecies Conflict/Andrewsarchus elephants etc


Hello BK,
In walking with prehistoric beasts, they tell us that an andrewsarchus can get up the size of a modern day rhino, do you think that an andrewsarchus would be able to take down and African elephant and my can you answer these questions.

1. African elephant vs megatherium
2. Andrewsarchus vs megatherium
3. Enteledont vs Nile hippo
Thank you

Hello Martin.

The size of Andrewsarchus hasn't been accurately pinned down, but many consider it to be one of the largest (if not the largest) meat-eating land animals that has ever existed.  Only its skull has been found, and many paleontologists (according to "Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Life" by Andrew Campbell & Steve Parker) have built up an impression of the rest of this animal's body from knowledge of the skull and its relation to the earlier, bear-like Mesonyx.  Conservative estimates place the size of this beast as being 6ft at the shoulder, up to 16ft in length, and weighing around 1000kg (the approximate size of a Wood bison).  Its actual build in unknown, and a stockier version of this mammal may have weighed between 1300 & 1800kg (between the size of a large black rhinoceros & an average white rhinoceros).  It is doubtful, however, that it reached this size.  Even if Andrewsarchus attained the size of an average white rhinoceros, it would be in serious trouble against an African elephant weighing over 5400kg.  The powerful bite of the Andrewsarchus undoubtedly served it well, but it would not come into serious play against the pachyderm.  It would be trampled/gored in a short amount of time.

African elephant vs Megatherium: This would be a good contest, as the Megatherium weighed close to 4540kg and stood over 6m (20ft) tall.  The Megatherium had long forearms with large claws on them, and a very tough hide that offered protection from injury.  If the heavier elephant was intent on injuring it, however, it would probably succeed.  African elephants are extremely strong animals, and several charges from it would likely cause internal injuries to the Megatherium (who would not have the mobility to get out of the way).  The Megatherium could certainly win this with several well-placed swipes of it claws, but the more likely result is the elephant getting the better of this confrontation (assuming it is willing to fight).

Andrewsarchus vs Megatherium: At the most reliable weights for Andrewsarchus, it would be seriously outweighed here.  The Megatherium would weigh over 4.5 times as much.  The Andrewsarchus' powerful bite would have trouble penetrating the tough hide of the sloth, and its attempt to do this would put it in range of those dangerous claws.  Even at the top-end estimates for Andrewsarchus, it would still weigh only 40% of Megatherium's weight.  An Andrewsarchus this big might succeed if it got a chomp on the head area of the sloth, but chances are great the head would remain out of range during a confrontation, and the sloth would still attain victory through effective use of its claws.

Enteledont vs Nile hippo: The Enteledont refers to a group of boar-like animals ranging in size from under 450kg to over 1000kgs.  The largest, called Daeodon (formerly known as Dinohyus), was the size of a bison and had a large head with crunching jaws and dangerous canine teeth (tusks).  The healthy male hippopotamus can weigh over 2 tons (older ones exceed 3 tons) and has jaws (featuring huge lower canines and forward-pointing lower incisors) that can open 4 ft wide.  To make this battle as fair as possible, we'll use the Daeodon & a 2-ton hippo.  The hippopotamus is capable of short bursts of speed on land, but its small legs (in proportion to its rotund body) make sustained mobility a challenge compared to animals that are entirely land-based.  The hippo is at home in the river where the water can help support its great weight.  The Daeodon will try to use its better mobility to bite and tusk the hippo, and will probably succeed in causing injury to the larger hippo.  However, the hippo will try to bite the enteledont with its massive jaws (the tusks could seriously wound the Daeodon) and drive the incisors into its body.  The Daeodon would probably inflict more injuries to the hippo than the other way around, but the hippo's less-frequent offense would be more substantial.  The Daeodon would be able to avoid the jaws of the hippo at the onset, but chances are it will get caught at some point.  The Daeodon can win this if it's careful, but more times than not the hippopotamus will prevail.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

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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.


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.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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