Injuries told about the technique of hunting wolves is terrible

Injuries told about the technique of hunting wolves is terrible

American paleobiology figured out how hunted large carnivores: saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis and the terrible wolves Canis dirus, extinct about ten thousand years ago.

Cats hunted from ambush, clenching in large prey with their paws and forcing her to lie down, and then a few bites killed her. Horrible wolves, as well as their living relatives, drove a prey, and killed her. Figure it out scientists helped the trauma left on the skeletons of animals. The results of a study published in Nature Ecology&Evolution.

For predatory mammals most likely to obtain injured or hurt occurs during hunting.

While large predators are often injured because they are forced to hunt prey the same size as themselves or larger than themselves.

Wounds and damage depend on the way of hunting: they are likely to be different from animals who hunt from an ambush, and the predators that force prey. Exploring the preserved skeletons of prehistoric animals and studying their injuries might help you understand how and with whom they hunted. Authors of new work studied well-preserved skeletons of two large predators of the Pleistocene epoch: the saber-toothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, and the terrible wolf, Canis dirus, which became extinct about ten thousand years ago.

Scientists believe that these animals hunted in different ways. C. dirus hunted in packs, like their cousins the gray wolves, he was chasing and exhausting prey, and, eventually, drove, and killed her. From saber-toothed cats left living relatives, but researchers believe that they, like modern tigers, hunt alone and ambush. The predator was stalking his victim, rushed to her, grabbed her front paws and forced to lie down, and then struck one or several decisive bites. Accordingly, injury received from both predators during the hunt was to be different.

From sabre-toothed cats damage, apparently, was focused on shoulders, chest and back. Wolves, probably more were injured extremity.

Also the ungulates on which they hunted, could kick, so maybe the wolves were damaged and on the head.

Both predators lived in North and South America, and, apparently, competed for prey. Numerous remains of S. Fatalis and C. dirus has been found in the tar pits at Rancho La Brea site in Los Angeles. They formed as a result of seepage to the surface of underground bitumen, which took place over tens of thousands of years. The pit of viscous bitumen was a trap for the unwary herbivores, and in turn, attracted many predators. As a result, in the tar pits at Rancho La Brea accumulated a lot of complete or partially preserved skeletons of animals. The age of the oldest of them — about 38 thousand years.

The authors of the new study analyzed the remains of saber-toothed cats 342 and 371 of the wolf, which fell into the tar pit approximately 11.5 thousand years ago. Then, by using the optimized hot spot analysis, they constructed a “heat map” showing the frequency and distribution of damage on the skeletons.

It turned out that saber-toothed cats injuries were found much more often (4.3 percent of cases) than of the terrible wolves (2.8 percent of cases).

According to the authors, more frequent injuries in S. Fatalis due to the fact that they hunted alone and on larger prey than wolves.

A greater amount of damage could be due to the fact that cats live longer wolves, and in older animals, for obvious reasons, injuries more than the young. However, early researchers found that Rancho La Brea, a large part of the remains of both species belongs to the young animal, therefore this hypothesis the authors shallows.

As predicted by the researchers, wolves have terrible injuries most commonly seen on the extremities. It was also quite a lot of damage to the cervical vertebrae. Apparently, they appeared when wolves were clinging to large ungulates and hung on them. Injuries in saber-tooth cats were, for the most part, on the back (lumbar and thoracic vertebrae), and, to a lesser extent on the neck and chest, confirming the hypothesis of the researchers that the cats hunted from ambush large prey.

Previously, researchers have created a method that allows the nature of the damaged bone to restore the details of the attack of predators on ancient people. Using this technique, scientists have reconstructed the consequences of a collision of the Neanderthals predators.

Ekaterina Rusakova