23 October 2007

Now here is a question about the previous video; which side did YOU take? were you pro-lion or pro-buffalo? (or pro-crocodile..) One of the spectators clearly made emotional pro-buffalo comments. Well nobody likes to see an infant eaten alive, in any species. And we like felines, only on the condition that they eat crunchy fish croquettes in little heart shapes (seriously, they do exist, i've seen them in Germany). I surprisingly found myself thinking sometimes pro-buffalo too as I was watching the plot unfold. We also think lions, being the hunters, usually are successful and dominant over the poor preys. Well, now i am wondering if this video was such an exception. Buffalos don't eat lions, but they do kick their ass, and the interaction resembles a war. See for instance this one (not as cool as the previous video, and quite gruesome: lion cubs are being chased and killed by bulls). Now which side do you take there? Don't you wish the oh-so-cute baby lions survive the attacks? That's what the commentator seems to be thinking. Interesting how the human mind takes the side of the weak.. at least when we have nothing at stake. If we are the ones threatened our human ancestors would probably not hesitate killing baby predators (one less that will reach adulthood), or if we are the ones hunting with a hungry stomach we think different (kill the buffalo, yumm!). In either case we probably think of ourselves (and in particular our ancestors) as the weak guys in nature, because physically we are. Is that the reason we tend to side for the weak?

17 October 2007

You HAVE to see this video, the action is slow to start but, wow... see it before reading the rest. One reason this is so spectacular is that it is so rare in nature. As i understand, lions usually attack the weak elements of the herd, and they may only get horned if they are not careful in choosing their prey (or if themselves are weak/old/young). But it seems they were pretty wise in this case, picking a young one. So they couldn't imagine the buffaloes coming back and being so persistent. From a human perspective on may wonder, what could prevent the bulls to kick lions' asses all the time with such a strategy? One interesting thing i saw is that the bulls were, well, bullying, but direct attacks were rare (though efficient) and only by very few individuals. With such mass and horns, they could have really torn the lions to shred even more than they did. But i am thinking as a human, and my ancestors are the one who applied consistent group strategies (and fire) with the consequences we know. They had the communication skills to transmit strategies and the big brains to remember elaborate better and better ones, and adapt to new situations. But are our communications skills so unique? How did the first buffalos communicate to their fellows something like, "hey guys, they got young charlie, we weren't enough to protect him, let's all go back all together and we can kick their ass, quick he might still be alive, quick!" Really, how do you say that in buffalean? (especially noteworthy if it's a rare event) Now for the ultimate question; did the young buffalo really survive after all this??