Are predators always smarter than their prey?


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Post by Gannet » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:40 pm

piscilactovegetarian wrote:Gannet, your concept doesn't agree with the facts. One can frighten the young of certain bird species by moving above them along a straight line an object shaped like a bird with outstretched wings. Other shapes won't elicit that reaction. You're almost like Aristotle rejecting Plato's notion of the "innate ideas" (built-in ideas, ideas we're born with) and saying that "there is nothing in the mind that has not previously gone through the senses" (in your case, at least as far as unlearned reactions to predators are concerned [actually, unlearned by the individual but obviously learned by the species and added to the genome]), by which he meant that at birth the mind is a "clean slate", a blank page.

Good Day piscilatovegetarian - I am not rejecting the idea of "innate ideas" I am just challenging the concept. I concur with taxes and reflexes being innate, and that evolutionary adaptation affecting genes which changes a species physiology (which includes the nervous system).

I challenge the concept of the following behaviors being instinctive and provide why I think they are learned:
    antipredation behavior - by observing the reactions of others of its species to the present of something different.
    migration - could be yearlings just following previous generations of their species
    nest building - by observing previous generations building nests
    imprinting - has been claimed by Lorenz as instinctive behavior which based on definition cannot be modified; however, imprinting has been shown to decrease with time.

I believe our conversation has digress away from the OP's question and I will either piggyback onto either an existing applicable thread or start a new topic on Instinctive Behavior

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Post by josem » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:59 pm

What if a python eat a human being?

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Re: Are predators always smarter than their prey?

Post by Sheppie » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:52 am

I wouldn't make a general rule out of it. Except intelligence there are so many other things to consider that such theory as in subject is simply incomplete and unfair. Like someone earlier mentioned the case or rabbits and coyotes. Rabbits needed to learn how to live in one neighborhood with a coyote so I wouldn't call them less intelligent. Too many variables. Environment, speed, weigh, tricks, condition, weather and so on and so forth.

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Post by BasicBiology » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:09 am

The difficulty with the concept of innate ideas or innate behaviors is that it is difficult to prove every potential environmental factor did not cause the observed behavior. For example, showing that chicks react to bird-like shapes above them doesn't prove that another factor did not previously lead to them learning that behavior. Obviously, there are strong cases for innate behavior such as infants pursuing food immediately after birth and juveniles responding with alarm calls at the first time of meeting a predator. I think it is more than likely that animals do have many innate behaviors and ideas but proving that this is the case has proven difficult.

As for the question of predators always being smarter than their prey, I think you've already established that that's not the case. Humans can be prey for large predators, e.g. sharks, crocs and large cats, and I don't think many people would argue that humans are less intelligent than any of those predators.
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