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Comparative analysis of the spotted hyena and the gray wolf

United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#1
( This post was last modified: 01-12-2020, 07:17 AM by Sully )

This thread (one I think is somewhat overdue given the talk I've seen around the forum) is dedicated to comparing and contrasting the morphology, behaviour, diet, predatory habits and social structure of hyenas and hyena clans and wolves and wolf packs. This all relating to the ecological niche each occupies and the implications of each's biomes, how it shapes the predators to be how they are. One should keep in mind and hopefully be able to link back to the overarching historical understanding that wolves outcompeted early dog like hyenas in Eurasia 5-7 million years ago which lead to the bone crushing niche being the surviving and successful hyena variation, and more recently and relevant to the discussion, wolves being able to outcompete spotted hyenas in a Europe which saw the effects of climate change in decreased lowland habitats and increased mixed woodland cover some 20,000-10,000 years ago. I feel gray wolves and spotted hyenas are most relevant due to their historical overlap, size, and the fact that the spotted hyena is the only extant hyena which lives in pack like groups.

This comparison of wolf (top and centre) and hyena (bottom and right) skulls comes from the book "Big cats and their fossil relatives" (the comparison included the leopard which I cropped out in the fist image).

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#2
( This post was last modified: 01-21-2020, 05:29 AM by Sully )

A skeletal comparison of the spotted hyena and the gray wolf


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#3

Comparative ecology and taphonomy of spotted hyenas, humans, and wolves in Pleistocene Italy


Abstract In Late Pleistocene Italy, spotted hyenas competed in certain niche dimensions with wolves and in other dimensions with Paleolithic humans. Spotted hyenas of the Italian peninsula consumed essentially the same ungulate species as Paleolithic humans did, and both of these predators depended heavily on bone marrow. Wolves tended to consume more hillside-adapted ungulates in the same area and period, suggesting some spatial separation of the three predators according to topography. There is complete overlap in the prey age groups commonly harvested by spotted hyenas and wolves, but pronounced differences between this pair of predators and Paleolithic humans of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods ; from the narrow perspective of ungulate exploitation, Middle and Upper Paleolithic humans were quite similar. Taken together, there is good evidence for niche separation among the three ungulate predators during the Late Pleistocene in Italy. The intensity of bone transport to and modification at dens by hyenas varied greatly with circumstance and prey body size, indicating that prey size must be carefully controlled in comparisons of predator behavior. Populations of wolves and humans appear to have expanded toward the end of spotted hyenasʼ tenure on the Italian peninsula, and disappearance of the spotted hyenas from Eurasia may be best explained by rapid transformations of ecosystem structure associated with global warming after 13 KYA.
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#4

Comparison of cursorial locomotion

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#5

Contrasting ways a hyena clan and a wolf pack deal with a significantly larger predator






"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United States Pckts Offline
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#6
( This post was last modified: 02-04-2020, 07:16 AM by Pckts )

Too many mouths vs that Lion, if the Wolves had the same numbers as the Hyena, I'm sure they would of ran the bear off just the same.
The wolves also seem a bit more elusive, Hyena are more willing to take a hit to give one back.
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Norway Pantherinae Offline
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#7


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
Hyena to the left and wolf to the right
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Norway Pantherinae Offline
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(02-04-2020, 06:22 AM)Sully Wrote: Contrasting ways a hyena clan and a wolf pack deal with a significantly larger predator






Here I think it’s a better comparison with fewer hyenas against lionesses as this seems like a young bear. Wolves are quicker but hyenas are stronger so they have very different approaches against larger carnivores, but both seem to always step aside when they are faced with a large dominant male lion/bear no matter what numbers they are in. 



 
In my opinion wolves are much better at working together, more adaptable and are imo more aggressive. However one on one a Hyena is a different story they can mess with adult male leopards and win, even lone lionesses have been forced away by lone hyenas. So they have very different strengths and
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#9

It was hard to find a like for like comparison but what I've gathered from years of watching videos and documentaries of wolves and hyenas, I feel like wolves work as a more cohesive unit. The two wolves stealing from those bears in Finland were tactical in their approach. One distracted while the other stole. Hyena's strength seems to be heavily reliant on numbers when fending off lions, there are no real tactics other than to harass and intimidate as well as nip every now and then. Certainly the wolf seems to be evolutionary better developed as group creatures. On the other hand hyenas can survive alone better.
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#10

Here we see how a wolf pack and a hyena clan take down similar sized dangerous megafauna, probably the top range of prey items each can actually target

Wolf pack taking down bison





Hyena clan taking down buffalo





Wolves seem to prefer the chase and drag down to kill whereas hyenas seem to prefer the inconspicuous wondering wherein the whole clan eventually surrounds the prey and simply eats it alive. Generally wolves target bison and other dangerous prey like Ox more often than hyenas target buffalo (the one in the video looks lame as well), so I would conclude that the wolf pack is more effective in taking down big bovine prey.
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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