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Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies Conflict

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QUESTION: Dear BK,
It's me, Tejas, again. I have some questions. I sincerely request you to answer them.
Conditions: No ambush allowed; all animals with equal advantage, without aspects such as habitat affecting them. Questions are not pound-for-pound unless specified. All questions are at maximum sizes. Even if an animal is not adapted to fighting, if the subject has an advantage that allows it to win, the question is valid (eg: Argentinosaurus vs Tyrannosaurus; Tyrannosaurus is more adapted to win but the former wins because of sheer size)

1. New estimates on the size of Steppe mammoths (Songhua River Mammoths) place them at merely 11-12 metric tons. Are these estimates accurate?
2. What is the size of Carcharocles chubutensis?
3. Basilosaurus vs Mosasaurus
4. Winner of #3 vs Carcharocles chubutensis
5. Loser of #3 vs Carcharocles chubutensis
6. 54-tonne bull sperm whale vs 177-tonne blue whale
7. 177-tonne blue whale vs maximum-sized Dreadnoughtus
8. 177-tonne blue whale vs 139-tonne (probable maximum estimate, though revised sizes may be smaller) Bruhathkayasaurus
9. Blue whale vs Winner of #4
10. Which are the most formidable animals in combat, modern and prehistoric, based on the conditions? (animals such as blue whales and other non-fighters can be included)
11. 857-pound Bengal tiger (the largest healthy, non-obese tiger seen) vs maximum-sized Asiatic brown bear
12. Which are the most formidable modern animals in combat (pound-for-pound)?
13. Which are the most powerful modern species of bird?

ANSWER: Hello Tejas.


1. Q: New estimates on the size of Steppe mammoths (Songhua River Mammoths) place them at merely 11-12 metric tons. Are these estimates accurate?
  A: I don't think so.  The height of this mammoth was originally estimated to close to 17ft at the shoulder and its weight was estimated at 19 tons.  The current shoulder height estimate is 15ft.  Any mammoth (even a modern day elephant) measuring 15ft at the shoulder will likely weigh a lot more than 11-12 metric tons.  15 tons is a more plausible estimate.

2. Q: What is the size of Carcharocles chubutensis?
  A: It is believed this shark reached 40ft (12m) in length, which is just about twice as long as a great white shark.  Its weight was likely over 20 tons; perhaps approaching 25 tons.  Not as big as Megalodon, but still a very large fish.

3. Basilosaurus vs Mosasaurus: Size estimates vary for Basilosaurus, but this whale was believed to exceed 60ft (over 18m) in length.  It had a slender build, and likely weighed between 10-20 tons (some estimates are higher).  Basilosaurus had a small head in comparison to its body (about 1/20th of its body length), but its jaws were fierce-looking (sharp teeth in the front for stabbing; saw-edged teeth at the back for chewing).  It may have fed on large fish and squid.  Mosasaurus was a large large marine reptile that likely exceeded 40ft (over 12 m; some estimates are higher)) in length and weighed as much as 2 African elephants.  They had large jaws & sharp teeth that enabled them to decent-sized aquatic animals (its teeth marks have been found on large turtle shells).  Mosasaurus had a slender, agile body with 4 flippers and a long, rudder-like tail.  These physical characteristics enabled it to maneuver swiftly through the water and accelerate quickly in short bursts.  In a battle with battle with Basilosaurus, Mosasaurus will have a great mobility advantage and a larger set of jaws.  Mosasaurus may not succeed in killing the large whale, but will be able to avoid its bite on most occasions.  Edge to Mosasaurus.

4. Winner of #3 (Mosasaurus) vs Carcharocles chubutensis: Carcharocles chubutensis will be about the same length as Mosasaurus, but will weigh about 60% heavier.  Carcharocles chubutensis was a huge shark with a deadly bite (razor-sharp teeth).  It was not as agile as Mosasaurus, but like the reptile, was capable of moving rapidly in a short burst.  In this battle, Mosasaurus will be able to land bites more readily, but will need several well-placed ones to subdue the shark.  The tough, scaly hide of Carcharocles chubutensis will afford it enough protection to give it time to land a significant counter-bite.  Both can win, but the Carcharocles chubutensis has a decent size advantage and a better bite.  Slight edge to Carcharocles chubutensis.

5. Loser of #3 (Basilosaurus) vs Carcharocles chubutensis: Carcharocles chubutensis will only be about 2/3 the length of Basilosaurus, but will weigh at least 50% more than the whale.  The relatively small bite of Basilosaurus can do some damage (some areas on the teeth were serrated), but not enough to offset the razor-sharp teeth lining the jaws of Carcharocles chubutensis.  Carcharocles chubutensis will probably have a maneuverability advantage as well despite being heavier, but even if this advantage isn't great, its weight and bite are.  Carcharocles chubutensis wins.

6. 54-tonne bull sperm whale vs 177-tonne blue whale: The blue whale will be about 50% longer than the sperm whale.  The blue whale simply uses its great size to protect it from predators.  Sperm whales can butt with their heads and strike with their tails.  Their teeth, set in the lower jaw, are as large as bananas.  The sperm whale's teeth are designed to help them eat their favorite prey (squid), but aren't designed to be greatly effective against solidly-built aquatic animals (especially larger ones).  The sperm whale, being smaller, will have a slight advantage in speed & mobility, but won't have the level of offensive weaponry needed to exploit this advantage.  In reality, this will be a stalemate.  The sperm whale won't be able to seriously injure the blue whale (perhaps drive it away on occasion), and the blue whale won't have the speed to make significant contact with the sperm whale (but may force a retreat if it swims toward it).  Against common opponents, the sperm whale is better suited to succeed, but adherence to the guidelines you have established grant the blue whale the victory.

7. 177-tonne blue whale vs maximum-sized Dreadnoughtus: Dreadnoughtus is a recently discovered sauropod that was huge, but still weighed less than half of a blue whale's weight.  The only way a battle can ensue is to utilize a virtual environment in which movement of each combatant remains the same regardless of location.  As such, the mobility (and 3-dimensional range) of the blue whale will be enough to favor it here.  Dreadnoughts won't have enough offense to seriously wound the blue whale, and the blue whale can cause an impactive injury to the sauropod by swimming into it.  Blue whale wins.

8. 177-tonne blue whale vs 139-tonne (probable maximum estimate, though revised sizes may be smaller) Bruhathkayasaurus: Bruhathkayasaurus was a lot heavier than Dreadnoughts, but still smaller than the blue whale.  As with the prior matchup, the blue whale's movement & range will be too great to give Bruhathkayasaurus a chance to strike with its tail or mount any other type of offense.  Blue whale wins.

9. Blue whale vs Winner of #4 (Carcharocles chubutensis): If we use the 177-tonne version, the blue whale will weigh close to 9 times as much as Carcharocles chubutensis and measure 2 1/2 times as long.  The bite of the Carcharocles chubutensis is fearsome, but it will be gape-limited against the huge body of the blue whale.  The shark will be able to wound the mammal, but it will take a massive accumulation of bites to overtake it.  Carcharocles chubutensis won't realistically make such an effort.  The blue whale can't actively fight the shark, but moving its mass into the fish's personal space will likely drive it away.  Carcharocles chubutensis can win if it relentlessly attacks for a long period of time, but in reality a blue whale will probably be safe if dropped in the water with Carcharocles chubutensis.  Because of this (and remaining true to the guidelines), the blue whale gets the nod.

10. Q: Which are the most formidable animals in combat, modern and prehistoric, based on the conditions? (animals such as blue whales and other non-fighters can be included)
   A: It's hard to say considering the conditions, as animal "a" might beat animal "b", animal "b" might beat animal "c", but animal "c' might beat animal "a".  Aquatic animals, because of their mobility, will have an advantage.   An exact list probably isn't possible to create, but I'll list the ones at the top: Megalodon, pliosaurs, Livyatan mellvillei, blue whale, sauropods (Bruhathkayasaurus, Argentinosaurus, etc.), sperm whale, Carcharocles chubutensis, & mosasaurs.  Others to consider are smaller sauropods (Brachiosaurus & others in its size range), killer whales, Dunkleosteus, & others.

11. 857-pound Bengal tiger (the largest healthy, non-obese tiger seen) vs maximum-sized Asiatic brown bear: The largest brown bear in Asia is the Kamchatka brown bear, which will weigh about 2/3 more than this Bengal tiger.  Tigers are capable of subduing animals larger than themselves (typically herbivores), but a brown bear presents many problems.  Bears are not as quick or agile as tigers, but still have the ability to counter-attack one that engages it.  The larger bear will have a hefty strength advantage, and its forelimbs can be used to dictate the positioning of the battle.  A paw swipe from this bear can easily injure the tiger, and the ursid's superior endurance will give it a decisive edge in any prolonged encounter.  A tiger will have a decent chance if the weights are reasonably close, but the felid will have it's work cut out for it against a brown bear of this size.  This huge tiger is certainly capable of pulling this off (as it has finishing know-how), but won't do so on most occasions.  Kamchatka brown bear wins.

12. Q: Which are the most formidable modern animals in combat (pound-for-pound)?
   A: jaguar, lion, tiger, leopard, grizzly bear, wolverine, American Pit Bull Terrier (if game-bred), snow leopard, cougar, & honey badger.  Others high on the list include (but are not limited to) other types of bears, baboons, hyenas, clouded leopards, rhinos, wild boars, & Tasmanian devils.  This isn't in exact order (many of these are close), but it's not far off.

13. Q: Which are the most powerful modern species of bird?
   A: Terrestrial: ostrich, cassowary, emu, & rhea are likely at the top.  Capable of flight: harpy eagle, Philipine eagle, & Stellar's sea eagle are the top 3.  Others include martial eagle, golden eagle, bald eagle, white-tailed eagle, & crowned eagle (not in exact order, but close).  The lappet-faced vulture is a consideration as well (among others).


Best regards.

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

QUESTION: Dear BK,
Thank you for answering the previous question. The answer was very good and detailed. Now, could you please answer these questions:

1. Dreadnoughtus vs Southern Right Whale (regardless of habitat, in maximum motion)
2. In further questioning to the Sperm Whale vs Blue Whale question: could the sperm whale perhaps move quickly and strike the blue whale's soft underbelly with its eleven-inch teeth? While the blue whale's sheer size is an advantage, the sperm whale's offensive capabilities are high. So, could you please elaborate on the answer?
3. Which are, in order, the top 10 most powerful animals, modern or prehistoric, of all? (including animals of the same family, such as both blue whale and right whale, etc)

Answer
Hello again Tejas.


Dreadnoughtus vs Southern Right Whale (regardless of habitat, in maximum motion): The Southern right whale will weigh about 1/3 more than Dreadnoughtus.  This will be similar to blue whale vs Bruhathkayasaurus.  The Southern right whale will have a much greater range of movement with its body, and will be able to avoid the offense (tail) of Dreadnoughtus most of the time.  Although the Southern right whale is not a combative animal, it will have better means to injure the dinosaur (perhaps by forcefully moving into it) than the other way around.  Edge to Southern right whale.

Q: In further questioning to the Sperm Whale vs Blue Whale question: could the sperm whale perhaps move quickly and strike the blue whale's soft underbelly with its eleven-inch teeth? While the blue whale's sheer size is an advantage, the sperm whale's offensive capabilities are high. So, could you please elaborate on the answer?
A: The sperm whale will indeed have greater mobility, but won't be able to take advantage of this in any measurable way.  Its lower jaw (of which approximately 3 meters can visibly open) is narrow and tapered, and its mouth won't be able to open wide enough to deliver effective bites on the blue whale's massive body.  Imagine trying to pick up a tennis ball with a pair of needle-nose pliers.  The sperm whale's teeth and jaws aren't made to chew into tough matter.  Bull sperm whales can possibly injure each other to some degree with their teeth, but a blue whale will be almost 3 times as massive (approximately 4.5 meters from top to bottom; over 3.5 meters across).  It's also to important to note that a sperm whale would not attempt an attack on a blue whale.  For it to do so would be assigning an instinct to the sperm whale that doesn't exist (attacking animals much larger than itself).  It depends on how you look at it, though.  The sperm whale is a better combatant, and is better equipped for battle.  Although a blue whale can't really seriously injure a sperm whale, a sperm whale can't really seriously injure a blue whale.

Q: Which are, in order, the top 10 most powerful animals, modern or prehistoric, of all? (including animals of the same family, such as both blue whale and right whale, etc)
A: As with the previous list, creating an exact one or one in order will be problematic due to animal "a" being able to defeat animal "b", animal "b" being able to defeat animal "c", but animal "c' being able to defeat animal "a".  There's also the contrast of "what an animal is physically capable of doing" and "what an animal will realistically do" to consider.  Aquatic animals, because of their mobility (with 3-dimensional movement instead of 2-dimensional movement), will have an advantage over land ones.

1. Megalodon
2. Pliosaurs (Pliosaurus macromerus, Pliosaurus funkei, The Monster of Aramberri, Liopleurodon ferox, etc.)
3. Livyatan mellvillei (strong consideration for #2)
4. Blue whale (just based on size)
5. Sperm whale
6. Carcharocles Chubutensis
7. Mosasaurs (Mosasaurus, Tylosaurus, Hainosaurus, etc.)
8. Fin whale (just based on size)
9. Right whale (just based on size)
10. Killer whale

* sauropods (like Bruhathkayasaurus, Argentinosaurus, Amphicoelias fragillimus, etc.) can certainly be considered due to their great size, but their lack of mobility compared to aquatic animals will limit them.  The killer whale has the ability to eventually defeat the blue whale/fin whale/right whale with a prolonged attack, but simply won't make such an effort against these giants solo.  A mosasaur might not attack a fin whale either.  Dunkleosteus can be considered as well, as its bite can definitely injure a whale (but it probably would not attempt an attack).  This list can't be set in stone without knowing exactly how each animal will react (which involves a lot of guesswork), and without considering the "what an animal is physically capable of doing" vs "what an animal will realistically do" angle.  Lots of animal interaction involves mutual avoidance. *

* if by "most powerful" you mean something other than one-on-one formidability, let me know! *


Best regards.

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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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