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Interspecies Conflict/Bear dog (A. Ingens) vs polar bear/Kodiak bear. and a few other.

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Question
Hey BK, I'm glad I finally got to write to you. I've been reading a lot about carnivores, especially the present days carnivores. I don't know as much about prehistoric carnivores except a few. I would love to know what the largest species of amphicyon ingens would do against the largest bears of today. Largest A. ingens can grow up to 600kg, and Kodiak bears are probably a little bigger. And polar bears are a little bigger than Kodiak. And leopard vs cougar is a popular one also, they both have strengths and weaknesses, this is a hard one for a lot of people. Smilodon fatalis vs Siberian tiger would be a great one too, who would win in a fight to death out of these two large cats. Smilodon is strong, but tigers are agile and have a great reach, and are probably longer, though not as robust, they can give a powerful swipes when balancing on powerful hind legs. You can be flexible with these answers, it's my first time asking on Allexperts. You can do average weight fights and largest weight fight. I think you can clarify and give more input and info of your own. Thank you.

Polar bear vs amphicyon ingens
Kodiak bear vs amphicyon ingens
African Leopard vs cougar (average weights)
Siberian tiger vs smilodon fatalis

Answer
Hello Anees.  Good to hear from you.


Polar bear vs Amphicyon ingens: Male polar bears can reach 680kg in weight (although the average for today's polar bears are more likely around the 450-500kg range) and stand over 1.5m at the shoulder.  They are extremely strong animals from nose-to-tail, and demonstrate this strength by tackling large walruses, pulling large seals out of the water, and punching holes through thick ice.  Polar bears also have a thick layer of blubber (10cm in some spots) that can serve as decent protection in a battle and curved claws (5cm long and sharp) perfect for gripping ice and prey items.  Bears are known for having fantastic endurance, and the polar bear has been known to swim great distances through the frigid waters of the Arctic without stopping.  However, because a polar bear can potentially overheat with prolonged exertion on land, this should probably be factored in to some degree when considering how effective it will be in a fight with another animal (of course the Amphicyon ingens won't be comfortable battling a polar bear in freezing temperatures, but I usually consider climate to be a neutral factor in matchups and focus on the participants' combat abilities).  Male polar bears battle one another from time-to-time, and this practice will benefit the bear in this matchup.  Amphicyon ingens (or "bear dog") was a animal that had attributes of the dog and the bear.  Its large head was somewhat dog-like and sported very powerful jaws, its body was stocky (like a bear's), its limbs were stocky and sturdy, and its gait was plantigrade (feet flat on the ground like a bear).  Unlike canids which are comparatively "stiff-legged", Amphicyon's limbs were formed in such a way to enable it to swipe (with a lot of force) and grip.  In a battle with a polar bear, Amphicyon will likely have a small mobility advantage, and its endurance will likely be comparable.  The polar bear will have the advantage of strength and size, the "swipes" of each animal will probably be comparable, and the bear dog's jaws will have a more effective bite.  The edge in durability will go to the polar bear.  The better assets of the polar bear will matter more in a close-quarters fight than the better assets of the Amphicyon ingens.  The advantages of speed and mobility don't necessarily translate into combat success if the combatants grab onto one another (which will likely be the case here), and the forelimbs and mighty strength of the polar bear will be helpful in neutralizing the jaws of the bear dog (or at least limit their effectiveness to some degree).  Probably a very close fight at parity, but at average or maximum weights the polar bear will be slightly favored.  Edge to polar bear.  

Kodiak bear vs Amphicyon ingens: A Kodiak bear is comparable in size to a polar bear.  It may be a bit smaller than the polar bear on average, but it can achieve the same 680kg weight and 1.5m shoulder height, and will still have a rather decent weight advantage over the Amphicyon ingens.  The Kodiak bear will be very close to the same level as the polar bear in terms of how formidable it will be as an opponent for the bear dog.  The Kodiak bear's endurance won't be hampered by any overheating issues, but its fur (although stiff and capable of offering some protection from attack) won't deflect an opponent's offense quite as well as the blubber-padded body of the polar bear.  The Kodiak bear's strength is a bit more concentrated in the shoulder area than the polar bear's uniform strength is, so its paw swipes (with claws that are twice as long but not quite as sharp) will likely be applied with greater force.  The bear dog will run into many of the same problems (giving up size and strength, having its ability to land bites freely be compromised, etc.) with the Kodiak bear that it will with the polar bear, and its chances of victory will be no greater.  In general, bears are excellent fighters and rarely lose a fight.  Amphicyon will likely make it very interesting at parity, but with the Kodiak bear weighing a bit more, the ursid will have the slightest of edges just like the polar bear.  Edge to Kodiak bear.

African Leopard vs cougar (average weights): With most big cats, the average weight is about 70% of the maximum weight.  The largest cougars (over 100kg on occasion) are typically heavier than African leopards (usually don't exceed 90kg), but African leopards may actually exceed the average weight of cougars if ones from all regions are considered (for example, the cougars in Florida are much smaller than the ones in other areas and may bring the overall average weight of the cougar down).  When the largest representatives of each combatant are used, the average and maximum weights will favor the cougar by about 10-15%.  Here is a recent answer ("Battles" from 4/1/16) I gave regarding this matchup:

"Leopard vs Cougar: The cougar can weigh about 15% heavier than the leopard (if we use the larger species found in Africa and the Middle East).  The cougar is taller at the shoulder, and will have a slight reach advantage in a paw-swipe exchange.  Cougars have powerful back legs that enable them to leap with amazing ease, and they are capable of killing herbivores much larger than themselves.  The leopard is stronger pound-for-pound (and drags heavy prey items up into trees), and has a larger head & neck area.  Both cats are battle-tested (cougars deal with wolves, wolverines, & bears; leopards deal with lions, hyenas, baboons, etc.).  At equal weights I favor the leopard due to it having more power in a close-quarters conflict with gripping and biting, but at max weights I give the slightest of edges to the cougar because its size advantage (about 30lb) will help "even out the playing field".  Close to 50/50; slight edge to cougar."

A battle here will be a close-quarters affair, and it won't necessarily be a "swipe war" or an attempt by each animal to get into a "killing bite" position like they would do with a prey item (cougars might do this with a wolf and leopards might do this with a hyena, but these opponents don't have claws that would make this action as problematic as with a cat vs cat skirmish).  Biting and clawing (with front and back paws) will likely occur throughout the majority of the fight until one cat breaks off its attack and moves away.  Very close fight due to the leopard being the 2nd strongest big cat pound-for-pound (after the jaguar) and the cougar having a weight advantage.  Each cat has areas in which it is a little bit "better" than the other cat, but nothing so profound to grant it a huge advantage in a fight.  Again, close to 50/50.

Siberian tiger vs Smilodon fatalis: These big cats will likely be close in weight (average and maximum) if the historical weight of the Siberian tiger is considered.  The Siberian tigers (which currently live in a small area in Eastern Asia) are a bit smaller than they once were, but this cat still holds the title of "Largest Wild Big Cat Alive Today" by most accounts.  I remember books I read as a kid stating these striped cats could reach 700lb (317kg), and it's unlikely any that size exist anymore.  The Siberian tiger hunts herbivores (mostly cervids and suids) and occasionally engages in conflicts with brown bears.  Smilodon fatalis is not as large as the massive Smilodon populator, but is probably just as large as the modern-day Siberian tiger.  Smilodons had stocky, muscular builds.  They often tackled large animals and wrestled them into a position where their "sabers" (long canine teeth) could be employed in a stabbing or biting motion into a soft, vulnerable part of the victim's body (probably the throat).  The Smilodon's sabers were not durable enough to be driven into an area of another animal's body that was tough or bony without risk of breakage, so it was somewhat limited in its attack where biting was concerned.  It couldn't simply bite into whatever area of a prey item's body that was close to it, but had to be selective where it utilized its jaws.  A tiger can kill a large animal with a strong bite to the neck (typically to break the spine or induce suffocation), and uses its quickness and agility to get into a position to do so.  In a battle between these 2, the Smilodon will have enough of a strength advantage to dictate a lot of the positioning in a close-quarters battle.  Its swipes will have more force behind them as well.  The Siberian tiger will have a thick coat to help buffer some of the Smilodon's offense, and its own paw swipes will be quicker and have greater reach (as you mentioned).  Most big cat fights will involve a lot of clawing (with front and back paws) with some bites thrown in, but it's possible that the Smilodon will quickly default to the "wrestle to the ground and bite" technique before too much time passes.  The Smilodon will have a better chance to get the Siberian tiger into a "killing bite" position than the other way around, and the Siberian tiger's speed and agility advantage won't mean as much once the 2 big cats grip onto one another.  Both can win here, but the Smilodon's advantages will likely translate into success more readily than the tiger's will.  Slight edge to Smilodon fatalis.  


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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