Interspecies Conflict/Tool Users

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Question
I have some questions BK,
Would giving the Icaroraptor the ability to make and use tools give it an edge even with it's
amped-up abilities? If so, how would the tool-using Icaroraptors do against other species,

Icaroraptor (with a spear) vs Xeno
Icaroraptor (with tool) vs Helloid

And also some normal battles

Dimetrodon vs Komodo
Gaur vs Inostrancevia
Smilodon vs Utahraptor
Hyaenodon vs Utahraptor
Utahraptor vs Polar Bear
Allosaurus maximus vs White Rhino
Andrewsarchus vs Pleistocene Polar Bear
Andrewsarchus vs Arctotherium
Gaur vs Pleistocene Polar Bear
Arctotherium vs Gaur
5 African Elephants (with musth) vs Sarchosaurus Breeding Pair

Thanks!

Answer
Hello Lawrence.


Q: Would giving the Icaroraptor the ability to make and use tools give it an edge even with its amped-up abilities?
A: Tools are used by those that need them to accomplish a goal that would be more difficult without their use.  In regards to combat, I can't think of a tool (reasonably speaking, of course) that an Icaroraptor would need to improve upon what it is already capable of doing.  Its sentience would give it a better understanding of tool usage than a life form without sentience, but it would need to be equipped with the physiology to use those tools (grabbing hands with opposable thumbs for example).  With the weapons and abilities it already has (slashing claws, powerful bite, ability to spit toxins, etc.), the use of tools won't be needed in most run-of-the-mill combat situations.

Icaroraptor (with a spear) vs Xeno: This matchup was first proposed on 1/17/14 ("New Species") and was considered to close to a 50/50.  The abilities of each animal has changed somewhat as time has gone by.  This matchup was proposed by Anthony on 2/14/15 ("scenery"), and based on the enhanced abilities, Icaroraptor was granted the close victory.  The presence of a spear would not change the result of this matchup and details on Icaroraptor's ability to use a spear would only come into play against a closely-matched opponent where the spear's use would be a determining factor in the outcome.

Icaroraptor (with tool) vs Helloid: : This matchup was first proposed on 1/17/14 ("New Species"), and the Icaroraptor was granted the victory (mainly based on its superior size).  The abilities of Icaroraptor have increased since then, and it would still win most battles with or without a tool.  If the decision was a very close one between an Icaroraptor with a tool and a given opponent, the description of the tool (and the ability for Icaroraptor to use it) would be an important detail.

Dimetrodon vs Komodo: The Dimetrodon will weigh more than double the Komodo dragon's weight and will be slightly longer.  The Dimetrodon somewhat resembled a bulked-up Komodo dragon with a much larger head and a sail on its back (possibly used for display).  Its jaws were powerful, and filled with many (80) pointed teeth.  Komodo dragons are powerful reptiles with claws suited for effective digging, a whip-like tail, and a dangerous bite with sharp teeth used to tear flesh.  It was once believed that the Komodo dragon's bite was effective in dispatching victims based solely on the presence of bacteria, but it is now known that the komodo also produces a toxin that induces shock in its prey.  The effect of the Komodo dragon's bite might not be as profound on a Dimetrodon as on a warm-blooded mammal, but this point would likely be moot in this fight.  The much larger Dimetrodon would breach the tough skin of the smaller komodo with its strong bite and fearsome teeth, and would prevail in any initial skirmish with the reptile.  Dimetrodon wins.

Gaur vs Inostrancevia: A large bull gaur can weigh well over twice as much as Inostrancevia.  Gaurs are the world's largest bovids.  They have muscular bodies and thick curved horns.  Gaurs can be dangerous quarry for predators, including the mighty Bengal tiger (its most formidable enemy).  Inostrancevia had a huge skull, long canine teeth, and was a feared predator in its day.  Its legs weren't very long, which would make mobility an issue against a charging gaur.  A clean bite from Inostrancevia on a vulnerable area (like the neck) of the gaur would spell trouble for the herbivore, but on most occasions the huge bovid would use its horns and greater strength to drive the predator away.  Gaur wins.

Smilodon vs Utahraptor: Smilodon populator will weigh about 80% of Utahraptor's weight.  Smilodon populators had robust, muscular bodies (built almost bear-like), and were adept at tackling large prey items to the ground and finishing them by delivering a bite into a soft-tissue area with their deadly upper canines.  Utahraptor was a dangerous foe that used slashing kicks as its primary weapon.  It also had a decent bite (not quite on par with large theropods, but still strong).  The Smilodon's quickness & ability to leap upon its prey will be its meal ticket in this battle.  The cat can leap onto the Utahraptor and likely bowl it over or drag it down without too much trouble most of the time.  There's always the chance the Smildon will get kicked as it rushed in, and shift things quickly into Utahraptor's favor.  On most occasions I see the Smilodon closing the distance & latching onto Utahraptor, and the theropod having trouble landing kicks & bites as it gets pulled down.  Smilodon's bulk means it wasn't as agile or maneuverable as, let's say, today's big cats, but it had a high enough level of these traits to utilize effectively against Utahraptor on most occasions.  Smilodon fatalis & Smilodon gracilis would have been to small to prevail consistently against Utahraptor.  Smilodon populator wins.

Hyaenodon vs Utahraptor: Assuming we use Hyaenodon gigas, these animals weighed about the same.  Utahraptor was a dangerous foe that used slashing kicks as its primary weapon.  It also had a decent bite (not on par with large theropods, but still decent).  Hyaenodon had a huge set of jaws with bone-crushing power, but would have had a difficult time dealing with Utahraptor's savage kicks.  Hyaenodon's bite placement will be important, as its initial bite will need to be on a vulnerable area (like the neck) to incapacitate Utahraptor, thus keeping it from making a strong counter-attack with its vicious talons.  Utahraptor may take the initiative and attack first, and it may deliver a damaging kick from the onset or cling to Hyaenodon in a area that keeps it from landing a counter-bite.  Both can win, but because of more diversified weaponry, slight edge to Utahraptor.

Utahraptor vs Polar Bear: The polar bear will weigh a little more than 1/3 of Utahraptor's weight.  Utahraptor was well-armed with sickle-like talons to kick/slash with and a set of jaws armed with sharp teeth.  It also had clawed forelimbs to grab with and good leaping ability.  Utahraptor may have hunted in groups (a point that's debatable), and a group of them would have been much more effective in combat than a single one (much like wolves and lionesses today are better combatants as a group.....by this I mean to illustrate the idea that the whole is better than the sum of its parts).  Utahraptor was still very formidable on its own due to its diversified weaponry, but one would have a tough time with a polar bear.  A polar bear is a massively strong animal that demonstrates this strength by pulling large seals and other prey items out of the water and tackling large walruses on land.  The polar bear can also use its powerful body to smash holes in thick ice.  It has also been seen swimming many miles out to sea (a testament to its endurance).  The Utahraptor can certainly win with a few well-placed slashes before the battle becomes a close-quarters one, but once the bear grabs onto the theropod with its forelimbs, it will have the strength to drag it quickly to the ground.  The grounded Utahraptor will still be dangerous (it can still kick and slash, but to a lesser degree), but the thick fur of the polar bear (with blubber underneath) will help protect the ursid from much of the dinosaur's offense.  Edge to polar bear.

Allosaurus maximus vs White Rhino: Allosaurus maximus will weigh anywhere from 20% to 60% more (depending on the weight estimate used for the Allosaurus) than a typical full-grown white rhino, but the largest of these rhinos can make this a parity fight and perhaps exceed the dinosaur's weight.  Allosaurus maximus (which some scientists believe to be the same thing as Saurophaganax) was a large theropod with bladelike teeth and clawed forelimbs that may have aided the predator by grabbing/slashing.  It may have opened its jaws extremely wide to utilize the top jaw's teeth in a slashing motion.  White rhinoceroses have tank-like bodies, tough hides, and a long frontal horn that can be used to gore adversaries.  White rhinos don't deal with similar-sized predators, but Allosaurus dealt with prey items that exceeded them in size on occasion (like sauropods).  Close fight at parity, but if the Allosaurus enjoyed any significant size advantage, it would have the edge.

Andrewsarchus vs Pleistocene Polar Bear: These animals will be close in size, but some estimates place the bear as weighing about 10% more.  Andrewsarchus had a huge set of jaws and a bone-crushing bite, but the forelimb usage of the Pleistocene polar bear would give it the ability to control the movements of the smaller creature and hold its offense at bay.  The bite and paw swipes of the polar bear would give it a more diversified attack than the Andrewsarchus, and that would be the main deciding factor.  Close battle, but the larger Pleistocene polar bear has the edge.

Andrewsarchus vs Arctotherium:  Acrtotherium weighed about 60% more than Andrewsarchus (using the high-end estimates for Andrewsarchus' weight; its robustness is in dispute).  Andrewsarchus is only known from a skull fragment, but its skull was huge.  Its jaws were likely adept at crushing bone, and it may have been a scavenger as well as an active predator.  Arctotherium (South American giant short-faced bear) is related to the spectacled bear, but is over twice as tall at the shoulder and about 9 times as heavy.  Its forelimb usage would be huge in this battle, as it would be able to control positioning and utilize paw swipes to overpower the Andrewsarchus.  The bite of Andrewsarchus would be a danger, but the larger bear should have the advantage.  Arctotherium wins.

Gaur vs Pleistocene Polar Bear: These animals will be close in weight, although figures for both vary somewhat.  Gaurs usually don't exceed 1000kg in weight, but some estimates place its weight as high as 1500kg (which is likely an exaggeration).  Gaurs can exceed 2 meters at the shoulder, so its not unreasonable to think the weight may be somewhere in the middle on occasion for a big bull.  The Pleistocene polar bear's weight has been a subject of debate, and its maximum weight has been estimated at close to 1100kg (which is not unreasonable considering it can reach over 1.8m at the shoulder which is 20% taller than a modern-day polar bear).  Gaurs are powerful bovids with thick curved horns.  They are the largest bovids on the planet, even larger than water buffalo and American bison.  I consider the more formidable bear groups (brown & polar) as good matchups against equally-sized bovids.  Although bears will have issues with mobility against a charging bull, their stamina, durability, forelimb usage, claws & teeth, and great strength make them tremendous fighters.  A gaur with a decent weight advantage will win, but at close weights the bear will have the tools to make it a close battle.  Edge to Pleistocene polar bear.   

Arctotherium vs Gaur: Arctotherium will weigh about 60% more than the gaur, and the shoulder height of both animals will be rather close (imagine a Kodiak bear taking on a muskox).  Acrtotherium is believed to be the largest bear ever to exist, and possibly the largest predatory land mammal ever to exist (it may have scavenged heavily and drove other predators off of their kills).  Although the Arctotherium is not as formidable as the Pleistocene polar bear on a pound-for-pound basis, its much greater size makes it a more imposing adversary for the gaur.  The Arctotherium won't have the speed to move out of the way if the gaur charges, but it will be able to overpower the bovid once the battle becomes a close-quarters one.  It won't be an easy fight for the bear and it might not win every time, but it should prevail more times than not.  Edge to Arctotherium.  

5 African Elephants (with musth) vs Sarchosaurus Breeding Pair: This question was first proposed on 1/31/15 ("More Conflicts"), but the 5 elephants were not in musth and the weight of Sarchosaurus was only 8 tons.  In a follow-up question on 2/6/15 ("One more Conflict"), the weight of Sarchosaurus was changed to 20 tons (a more reasonable weight given its size).  Although elephant in musth are extremely aggressive and combative, their actions are largely without precision, and 5 of them would not likely employ teamwork of any kind while taking on an opponent in combat.  Sarchosaurus is built to charge (and has a strong bite), and a breeding pair throwing their weight around (each Sarchosaurus will weigh about 3 times as much as each elephant) will be enough to repel these 5 elephants.  Edge to Sarchosaurus pair.  


Some good matchups here!


Best regards.  

Interspecies Conflict

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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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