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Comparative analysis of the spotted hyena and the gray wolf

United Kingdom Sully Offline
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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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( 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
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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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