You are here:

Interspecies Conflict/Allosaurus vs bull african elephant

Advertisement


Question
Hello

I would like to know what would happen if a big and agressive bull african elephant (in musth) with big tusks would face an average sized allosaurus. What would happen in a face to face combat and what if the allosaurus was trying to hunt the elephant?

Answer
Hello Niko.

An male African elephant can weigh well over 6 tons.  When they are in musth, they get extremely aggressive and will indiscriminately attack any animal within its range (including humans).  A typical elephant would likely be intimidated by the sight of an Allosaurus approaching (having never seen one before), but an elephant in musth will not be.  The average Allosaurus probably weighed almost 2 tons (2.5 - 3 tons is a reliable max) and would have been close to 3 meters tall at the hips and almost 5 meters tall if it stood upright like a kangaroo.  The Allosaurus was a skilled hunter of larger animals (although it probably hunted in groups) like Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus) and the spike-tailed Stegosaurus.  Apatosaurus was huge (around 20-25 tons) and probably used its long tail to strike enemies in an attempt to fend them off, but it's limited mobility would have made it difficult to keep from getting bit by the more agile Allosaurus.  Its large jaws and sharp teeth would cause serious wounds to anything it chomped on.  Stegosaurus would have also outweighed Allosaurus, and was protected by large plate-like structures on its back and 4 long tail spikes to swing at the attacking theropod.  The Allosaurus had to learn how to get past these defenses to successfully prey on these (and others) dinosaurs.

large male elephant in musth vs allosaurus: Typically Allosaurus would face potential prey that would stay in one place and take up a defensive posture.  This would not occur with the elephant in musth.  The pachyderm would charge relentlessly toward the Allosaurus and attempt to gore it and knock it over.  Weighing more than 3 times the Allosaurus' weight, this would be a real possibility.  As long as the elephant was on the offensive, the Allosaurus would struggle to keep from being trampled.  Even the larger Tyrannosaurus-rex would find dealing with an angry African elephant problematic, so the smaller Allosaurus would be somewhat outmatched.  Elephant wins a majority of the time.

large male elephant in musth vs ambushing allosaurus: An ambushing Allosaurus might get a good bite or two if it's quick enough, but the elephant will quickly turn to face the theropod and launch a counter-attack right away.  Unless the Allosaurus could get enough effective bites in before the elephant turns around to charge, it will once again succumb to the size and power of the angry pachyderm.  Much better chance for the Allosaurus, but the elephant still has the edge.

It's worth pointing out that the fact the elephant is in musth is a huge advantage for it.  An elephant on a normal day would not be as aggressive, possibly take a defensive posture (or run), and allow the Allosaurus to utilize its superb hunting prowess with a calculated series of attacks.  The fact that we're using an average Allosaurus (instead of a max-sized one) also favors the elephant.  A top-sized Allosaurus would have a much better chance to compete.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.