Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Safety in Numbers

This morning when I was departing for lab I saw some brownish thingy hidden within the bush. Went to check it out and saw a bunch of baby spiders, all yellowish and so small you'd thought they're nothing but dust. Then, nearby I saw mommy spider. Wow~~~

Baby spiders

Mommy spider, and it's huge~

They are already equipped with surviving tools, i.e. the silk producing thingy and so on, but they are still vulnerable so mommy is just a stone's throw away =)

A school of herring

A colony of bat

Safety in numbers, that's a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Herring, bat, birds, and even larger mammals like the wildebeest and zebra uses this tactic. This is a natural instinct. Solitary animals are usually at the top of the food chain, for example tiger, bear, and other carnivores. We are at the top of the food chain too, but why are we congregating together in such large number? It is because we were once somebody else's food~~

Then you might ask: why are lions living together in a pride? Lions are the only cat that lives in a group.

A pride of lion

Other cats are usually solitary animal, which comes together only during the mating season. They mark their territory by scent marking (rubbing their body against trees, rocks, etc, like your cat rubbing its body on your leg, which I loathe), scratch marking on trees, and shit or pee at trees (sucks to be tree huh??).

They usually shy away from one another to avoid confrontation which may lead to fighting.

Lions, on the other hand, live together to up their chances of hunting. For your information, only one out of twenty hunting attempts made by a tiger is successful... ah... poor tigger=P
Lions, on the contrary, have a success rate of 15%.

The most efficient hunter? Hohoho don't be shocked, it's the house cat~ which boasts a 45-50% success rate in hunting.

Living in a group provides plenty of opportunity. Breeding is easier, for example the elephant, in which other females would help guarding the female in labor against predators.

There was a case in which a female rhino got killed by two tigers when she was giving birth. This is a perfect example of how a powerful animal like the rhino could fall prey to smaller predator like the tiger.

Another example is the annual migration of wildebeest and other herbivores from Serengeti to Masai Mara in Africa.

Safety in numbers, and when coming together as a group there are more watching eyes and that limits the success rate of predators.

Even when crossing the rivers, where crocodile is plenty, the huge number dwarfs the number of victims claimed by the reptile.

We human also follow the same trend. We are prone to follow the rest of the group, try not to be funny and so on. Yet it was a bold move made by Homo Erectus 4 million years ago to apply bipedalism and leave the comfort of the jungle that has produced us today.

Now, within the safety of our concrete jungle, we are unafraid to do something alone; walking alone in the park at night, dine out alone.. we could be dead should we're still living by the way of Homo Erectus, or worst still, yet to tame fire.


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