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Interspecies Conflict/Parks and Reextinction


Hey BK, I'm back and I have some new questions,

What if you put Gray Wolves in prehistory and they replaced Deinonychus? How would they fare?
What if we replaced Spotted Hyenas in Africa with Deinonychus?
(Don't include human intervention)

Secondly, I would like to disagree with you on your answer on Utahraptor vs Smilodon,
I used to believe your answer until I saw recent scientific models showing that Utahraptor was in fact, stockier and more muscular than previously thought, I did my research and I thought to myself, even though the raptor has two legs, it's stockiness and weight advantage should give it the advantage against a Smilodon.

Now for another park question,
In this park, humans share a symbiotic relationship with wolves, during a time when domestication was at it's earliest. Humans have built walled settlements and their settlements overlap with surrounding Gray Wolf territories. The context of this symbiotic relationship is in exchange for food scraps and shelter, the Gray Wolves would provide security and assistance in hunting. But there are far more dangerous adversaries out there.

This park once again, has temperate forests, taiga, tundra, grasslands and rainforest with plentty of resources.

Humans (Bronze Age)
Gray Wolves
Smilodon Populator
Spotted Hyenas
Allosaurus Maximus
African Wild Dog

White tail Deer
African Elephant
White Rhino
Alpine Ibex


Hello Lawrence.

Q: What if gray wolves replaced Deinonychuses?
A: Because gray wolves are very adaptable and work together effectively as a pack, they have the potential to be successful in a wide habitat range and in almost any time period.  Gray wolves can eat many different things (including vegetation), and can be determined when hunting (will occasionally pursue prey into water, for example).  A gray wolf is just about as formidable as a Deinonychus if a one-on-one battle is considered, and the fact they work well together makes a pack of wolves potentially as formidable as a group of Deinonychuses (assuming these dromaeosaurids hunted in groups).  Things to consider here are what each animal group will target as prey, the style of attack, and to some degree the physical abilities of each animal species (for example, the Deinonychus could leap upon a prey item and cling to it whereas a gray wolf cannot).  A grey wolf can run almost 60 kilometers an hour, so escaping danger won't be a major problem.  Gray wolves would be able to find prey to overpower and eat in the time of the Deinonychus, and would probably thrive.

Q: What is Deinonychuses replaced spotted hyenas?
A: As with the gray wolf, a spotted hyena is about as formidable as a spotted hyena when a one-on-one battle is considered.  Spotted hyenas (the most numerous large predator in Africa) have important roles as scavengers, and it's not too far-fetched to imply that Deinonychuses could fill that role to some degree.  As far as prey items go, there's enough in Africa for Deinonychus to eat (small animals for single individuals and large animals for any possible pack hunting by the dromaeosaurids), but dangers will abound.  A lion can easily kill a single Deinonychus, and a group of Deinonychuses will need to avoid any lions (as they form prides).  A leopard can kill a single Deinonychus, but the cat will probably avoid such an encounter to avoid serious injury (much like the leopard respects a large baboon).  A pack of Deinonychuses might attempt to attack anything they come across within reason, but elephants and rhinos will need to be avoided.  A hippo away from the water might be a target, but will be a dangerous foe for them.  Cape buffalos may be avoided unless solo, and crocodiles will be safe near the water (they can simply retreat if they need to).  The ability for Deinonychus to leap well will give it the ability to take out something like an ostrich, which is something a single spotted hyena will have difficulty doing.  Zebra and antelopes will be targeted, and kills by single predators may be claimed by a Deinonychus pack.  Overall, these dinosaurs will probably do well in Africa as long as the weather isn't too extreme for them.

Utahraptor vs Smilodon: If the weights of 500kg (for the Utahraptor) and 400kg (for the Smilodon populator) are used, this fight will be close.  If an increase in Utahraptor's size and stockiness lead to a greater weight compared to the Smilodon, the dromaeosaurid may have the edge.  In my previous answers to this matchup I have always given the Smilodon a slight edge.  I don't think dromaeosaurids match up well against felids because of the attack method of most cats.  Felids are just as fast and agile as a dromaeosaurid, and their propensity to leap upon an adversary and cling to it usually limits the counter-attack abilities of what they are attacking.  If a Utahraptor battles a Hyaenodon or a Daeodon (for example), it will be a weapon vs weapon affair in which the Utahraptor will be trying to inflict damage with its bite and claws and the opponents will be trying to land bites or stabbing wounds with their arsenal.  It's like a boxer fighting a boxer where both parties take turns delivering damage until one gains the upper hand.  A Utahraptor battling a Smilodon will be similar to a boxer fighting a wrestler (not the best example, but I hope it's good enough to help illustrate my point).  The Smilodon, which is accustomed to bringing down much large animals by clinging to them and wrestling them to the ground (to get in a good position to employ its long upper canines), will have little trouble bringing down a 2-legged creature than weighs only slightly more than itself.  The Utahraptor will have a small window of time to land a good kick (which may pierce or slash the Smilodon's hide) before the Smilodon attaches itself to the theropod and pulls it down.  The Utahraptor will still be able to fight back with bites and clawing, but its rear legs may not be in an optimal position to effectively deliver damage.  In other words, the Utahraptor's offense will be limited once the Smilodon makes contact.  If you compare the weaponry and physical attributes of each animal on paper, the Utahraptor looks more than equipped to take out a Smilodon.  However, considering the Smilodon's attack method and experience in pulling down animals much larger and stronger than the Utahraptor, everything will need to fall into place for the Utahraptor to succeed.  It will be a close fight that can go both ways, but I give the edge to the Smilodon for these reasons.  The Smilodon fatalis and the Smilodon gracilis will both be too small to have any chance against a Utahraptor, but the Smilodon populator is a match for it.  As mentioned before, my answer regarding this matchup is based on the Utahraptor weighing 500kg and the Smilodon weighing 400kg, so if what you say about the Utahraptor's increased stockiness and muscle mass means its weight is increased, my answer will likely change to assign the Utahraptor as the favored animal to win.  There are many valid reasons to favor a Utahraptor (like the ones you presented) over a Smilodon, so I certainly respect your stance.

*** Park question ***

* the population of each animal (among other things) must be considered to calculate its success in the park as a species.

Humans (bronze Age): The humans will be at the top of the park hierarchy with protective shelters and structures (caves, walls, enclosures, etc.), weapons (swords, spears, bow & arrows, axes, etc.), and the assistance of the wolves.  They will be able to hunt deer and antelope on their own, but can also rely on the wolves to capture these and other prey items.  Will be at some risk when venturing out (Smilodons, Allosaurus, Deinonychus etc.), but won't be without the means to stay safe if they make wise choices and keep alert.  Will benefit from the companionship of wolves when they leave their settlements for defense and detection.

Gray wolves: Will be near the top of the hierarchy based on numbers, cooperation, and the presence of humans.  Will need to avoid Smilodon most of all, but a large wolf pack (8 members or so) can drive one away.  Allosaurus will be too big to overtake, but this huge theropod won't be quick enough to catch any wolves.  Spotted hyenas and Deinonychuses can be a problem with a numbers advantage, as each of these animals is a close matchup for a gray wolf one-on-one.  African wild dogs can be a nuisance in large numbers, but they only weigh about 60% of a gray wolf's weight and won't be an especially dangerous adversary to the gray wolf/human coalition.  The white-tailed deer, the elk, the ibex, and most antelopes will be preferred prey targets.  Dryosaurus can be overcome, but will probably not be targeted over mammals.  

Smilodon populator: 2nd most powerful entity in the park after the Allosaurus.  Will avoid Allosaurus (too big), and will have moderate trouble from the other predators if their groups are large enough.  Will have little to worry about with average-size groups of the smaller predators, but Deinonychus may try to attack in any encounter.  Will prey upon Megaloceros and large antelope primarily (can be ambushed and will provide an adequate amount of meat), but subadult individuals of some of the other large mammals may be targeted.  Full-grown elephants, white rhinos, Stegosaurus, Indricotherium, Megatherium, and Diplodocus will be too large for a single Smilodon to handle.  Dryosaurus may be consumed on occasion.

Deinonychus: This animal will be a potential nuisance for just about every other animal in the park.  Will be the animal the humans worry about the most.  Will have battles with other predators on occasion, and a large group of them can be trouble for everything except Allosaurus.  Will attack a wide variety of prey items, and can overcome many of them with large numbers.  Will overtake kills from others if they can.  The elephant, white rhino, Stegosaurus, Megatherium, and Diplodocus will be mostly safe as adults, and the speedier antelope will be able to escape attack on occasion.  Young animals will be in danger, as well as Dryosaurus, the cervids, most antelopes, the ibex, humans, and some of the other small predators that become isolated.

Spotted hyenas: Will scavenge and hunt often, and can overpower many animals when forming large clans.  Will avoid Allosaurus and Smilodon (unless in a large group), and will be able to handle most other groups if the numbers are close.  Will take over kills.  The elephant, white rhino, Stegosaurus, Megatherium, and Diplodocus will be safe as adults.  Anything else may be a potential meal.

Allosaurus maximus: The most dominant predatory entity one-on-one in the park.  Will not be threated by other predators; may be harassed by Deinonychus from time-to-time.  White-tailed deer, elk, Alpine ibex (which may not be encountered considering its location in the park), Megaloceros, and most antelope will be too swift and alert to fall prey to the Allosaurus.  Many of the large herbivores are a good match for the Allosaurus, so subadults will be targeted.  The African elephant will be able to drive an Allosaurus away most of the time, but can be ambushed.  Megatherium will have tough hide to protect it (though some areas on it may be vulnerable to the jaws of the Allosaurus) and powerful clawed forelimbs to battle any attacker, but an encounter with Allosaurus maximus can potentially go either way.  Megatherium won't be fast enough to flee, so it will have to fight.  Diplodocus will weigh 3-4 times as much as Allosaurus, but will fall victim on occasion (especially is there's more than one Allosaurus).  Stegosaurus will be able to defend itself with its spiked tail, but won't be completely safe every time.  Indricotherium will weigh several times more than Allosaurus, and the theropod's head (if it stands upright) won't clear the shoulder of the Indricotherium.  The huge mammal can probably knock Allosaurus over with its weight, and may not be attacked on a regular basis.  A white rhino is about the same weight as Allosaurus maximus, and will be an even fight for it.  A single Allosaurus might not risk this with smaller, less dangerous options around (like Dryosaurus).  

African wild dog: Will be the weakest predator on a one-on-one basis (except for some unarmed humans), but its large numbers will give it success.  Will have the speed to avoid danger on most occasions, and will benefit from cooperation and great stamina when hunting.  The larger animals are off the table, but many cervids, antelopes, and young of many species will be possible meals.

* many of the herbivores (Stegosaurus, elephant, rhino, Megatherium, Diplodocus, and Indricotherium) are large enough as adults to only threatened by Allosaurus or a group of very adventurous humans.  Megaloceros (the Irish elk) is the largest herbivore that can be overcome without great effort by many of the predatory groups (and Smilodon), and will probably be a favorite target for most of them.  

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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