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Interspecies Conflict/Interspecies Conflict

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Dear Mr. BK,

It's me, Tejas, again. I'd like to thank you sincerely for your previous answers, and the editing of an answer. Please do answer these questions on interspecies conflict.
First, I'd like to, please, impose a condition on the questions. The conflict takes place with no impact based on climatic conditions, habitat or environment with the exception of habitat-based adaptations, eg: though it's just free space, when an eagle fights a land animal, it can go higher than the land animal and ambush it.
Second condition: Aquatic animals don't have the power of ambush. The confrontation begins face-to-face, and an ambush, obviously, is possible for terrestrial and aerial animals only by dodging an offensive and making an unexpected move.
The confrontations are as follows:

1. A mature 139-ton male Bruhathkayasaurus vs A mature 103-ton female Megalodon - no ambush allowed; no habitat or environmental impact

2. A mature male maximum-sized Pliosaurus funkei vs A mature female 103-ton Megalodon (maximum size according to David Ainley and Peter Kimley, as well as Stephen Wroe)

3. Is the Monster of Aramberri the largest recorded Pliosaur skeleton?

4. In a previous answer, you depicted Liopleurodon's size to be almost that of a sperm whale; however, recent research says a Liopleurodon measured a maximum of 28 feet, and weighed 4 tons. I did not analyze it thoroughly, and I'm not sure about the trustworthiness of my source (http://www.walkingwithdinosaurs.com/dinosaurs/detail/liopleurodon). Could you please verify the size of a mature male Liopleurodon ferox?

5. Which is the most formidable herbivorous animal, modern or prehistoric, in the interspecies conflict category?

6. The largest known Pliosaur (male, fully matured) vs Carcharodon megalodon (103 tons, female, fully matured)

7. Could you please send me a verified list of the most formidable animals, ancient or prehistoric?

8. Could you please send me a verified list of the most formidable animals (pound-for-pound) based on the new conditions i.e. ambush?

Yours gratefully,

Tejas

Answer
Hello Tejas.


Condition #1: The conflict takes place with no impact based on climatic conditions, habitat or environment with the exception of habitat-based adaptations, eg: though it's just free space, when an eagle fights a land animal, it can go higher than the land animal and ambush it.

Condition #2: Aquatic animals don't have the power of ambush. The confrontation begins face-to-face, and an ambush, obviously, is possible for terrestrial and aerial animals only by dodging an offensive and making an unexpected move.


1. A mature 139-ton male Bruhathkayasaurus vs A mature 103-ton female Megalodon: Bruhathkayasaurus was an enormous, stocky sauropod that was likely immune from predation once full grown, but a Megalodon was much more formidable than any peril it ever faced.  The sauropod would not have had the mobility or weaponry to seriously injure the giant shark or consistently repel its attack.  One bite from the Megalodon would have had approximately the same effect on the Bruhathkayasaurus as a great white shark's bite on a large bull hippo.  One bite probably wouldn't be enough to guarantee a kill, but 2 or 3 almost certainly would.  Megalodon would have a relatively easy time dispatching Bruhathkayasaurus.  Megalodon wins.

2. A mature male maximum-sized Pliosaurus funkei vs A mature female 103-ton Megalodon: Even the largest estimates for the weight of Pliosaurus funkei place it as being less than half of a 103-ton Megalodon's weight.  Pliosaurus funkei had a huge head (about 1/5th of its total length by most calculations) and powerful jaws.  Having 4 large flippers (2 on each side of its body) gave Pliosaurus funkei great mobility in the water & the ability to move with quick bursts of speed when it needed to.  Megalodon's robust body would have made it tough for the pliosaur to get a solid bite on, and the huge shark's massive bite (with slicing teeth) would have found its mark before it took too much damage from the smaller creature.  If any Megalodon actually reached 103 tons in weight, it would have had no rival (one-on-one) from any animal from any time period.  Megalodon wins.

3.
Q: Is the Monster of Aramberri the largest recorded Pliosaur skeleton?
A: It may be.  It reportedly approached 15 meters in length, which is greater than the estimated maximum lengths for Pliosaurus funkei & Pliosaurus macromerus.  Larger estimates (than this) of pliosaurs (including Liopleurodon) are based on partial remains and aren't substantiated.

4.
Q: In a previous answer, you depicted Liopleurodon's size to be almost that of a sperm whale; however, recent research says a Liopleurodon measured a maximum of 28 feet, and weighed 4 tons. I did not analyze it thoroughly, and I'm not sure about the trustworthiness of my source (http://www.walkingwithdinosaurs.com/dinosaurs/detail/liopleurodon). Could you please verify the size of a mature male Liopleurodon ferox?
A: Walking with Dinosaurs has occasionally overestimated the sizes & weights of various prehistoric creatures, but the series is laden with good information for the most part.  The sources I primarily use (which I've given to you in the past) give various estimations for the size of Liopleurodon.  The estimation of its size rivaling a sperm whale's size is one of the upper-end estimates, and is not substantiated.  In the book "Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History Of Life On Earth" by various editors including Dr. Jason Anderson & Dr. Roger Benson (vertebrates section)" it states the length of the Liopleurodon as 10 meters (doesn't specify a weight).  It also states that "Pliosaurids were massive animals.  Their spines were made up of vertebrae the size of dinner plates" and includes an illustration of one of these bones.  In the book "Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Life" with senior editors Kitty Blount & Maggie Crowley (another source I use), it states that Liopleurodon had a skull 10ft (3 meters) long.  With many varying estimates from the the people that study these creatures for a living, it's hard to pin down what would be considered the "verifiable size" of any prehistoric animal.  There is some disagreement as to how much of a pliosaur's length was made up by the skull, so finding the remains of one (skull) doesn't nail down the pliosaur's length exactly.  The same problem occurs with the prehistoric land carnivore Andrewsarchus.  The remains of this creature are sparse (only a part of the jaw has been found), and Andrewsarchus' size & weight has varying estimations as a result.  The jaw fossil can tell us general things about this mammal based on the complete remains of other creatures with similar jaws (that are related to it), but one can only guess at how robust Andrewsarchus was.  It may have been slender & weighed less than 1/2 ton, or it may have been stocky & weighed more than a ton.  We don't know for sure.  No one knows for sure how big Liopleurodon got, so we are left to our own opinions as to which account seems most plausible.  In the earlier answer I gave to you regarding Liopleurodon's size being comparable to a sperm whale, I was using one of the upper-end estimates (because I did the same for Megalodon & wanted to be consistent).  I believe that it is possible that Liopleurodon reached sizes comparable to Pliosaurus funkei & Pliosaurus macromerus, but no one can be positively sure.

5.
Q: Which is the most formidable herbivorous animal, modern or prehistoric, in the interspecies conflict category?
A: Blue whales eat krill (primarily), which may exclude it from "herbivore" consideration.  If it were included, I would put it at the top of the list based on its size.  Sauropods were herbivores, and the largest of them would have to be considered as the most formidable in regards to interspecies conflict based on size.  Argentinosaurus, Bruhathkayasaurus, & Amphicoelias fragillimus are believed to be among the largest of these.

6. The largest known pliosaur (male, fully matured) vs Carcharodon megalodon (103 tons, female, fully matured): Any pliosaur would need to weigh almost as much as Megalodon to compete with it in a one-on-one battle.  No pliosaur has ever been verified to reach anywhere close to 103 tons, and the largest known ones are likely less than half this weight.  For the reasons stated in question #2, Megalodon wins.

7. List of the most formidable animals (ancient or prehistoric):
* this list isn't in a precise order because the order can change depending on what weight/size estimates are used - aquatic animals dominate this list as most large land animals weren't nearly as formidable (because they did not need to be) *
  1. Megalodon
  2. Livyatan melvillei
  3. The Monster of Amarberri
  4. Pliosaurus macromerus
  5. Pliosaurus funkei
  6. Liopleurdon
  7. Sperm whale
  8. Carcharocles chubutensis
  9. Mosasaurus
  10. Basilosaurus
* others to be considered for this list are Kronosaurus, Tylosaurus, Hainosaurus, killer whale, Dunkleosteus, Deinosuchus, Shastasaurus, & others (even some of the larger land animals) *

8. List of most formidable animals; pound-for-pound (based on the new conditions):
* I'll assume here you mean modern & prehistoric; if not send me a follow-up.  No flying animals make the list, but some come close.  Birds of prey aren't built to withstand the rigors of a battle with a similar-sized terrestrial animal, but a successful ambush can certainly grant them some victories on occasion.  This list isn't in a precise order (it's hard to compare land vs water vs air), but I'll try to make it reasonably close  *
  1. Electric eel
  2. Electric ray
  3. Dunkleosteus
  4. Smilodon populator
  5. Thylacoleo
  6. Epicyon haydeni
  7. Jaguar
  8. Amphicyon
  9. Pliosaur
  10. African lion/tiger
* Many more animals merit consideration for the top 10 or come relatively close including other big cats (modern & prehistoric), wolverines, American pit bull terriers, ankylosaurs, ceratopsians, Sarkastodon, bears (modern & prehistoric), crocodilians (modern & prehistoric), eagles, sharks (modern & prehistoric), Pachycrocuta brevirostris, Hyaenodon gigas, honey badgers, Deinonychus, giant squid & octopi, Tasmanian devils, perenties, Alligator snapping turtles, various weasels, various canids, various suids, & a variety of small animals (Asian giant hornet, black bulldog ant, Bombardier beetles, velvet ants, rhinoceros beetles, cone snails, etc.).  If you need a specific matchup addressed further, please follow-up & I'll try to analyze it more. *


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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