SCIENCE

Wolves And Hyenas Form Unlikely Union In The Middle East

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Mar, 21, 2016, 07:54 PM
Tags : Wolves, Animals
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Gray Wolves
(Photo : REUTERS)

According to a new study, grey wolves and striped hyenas in the Middle East have an agreement to work together for resources. The study, published in the journal Zoology in the Middle East, details how predators in competition for resources sometimes set their differences aside for the sake of survival.

Vladimir Dinets, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee, said that animal behavior is not as predictable as depicted in textbooks. "When necessary, animals can abandon their usual strategies and learn something completely new and unexpected. It's a very useful skill for people, too."

Striped hyenas and grey wolves are both large creatures. They both also share the same diet, and the "the Grey Wolf and the Striped Hyena are widely distributed in the Palaearctic region with a broad overlap of the ranges in particular the Middle East," noted the researchers in the journal.

Researchers first realized collaboration between the two animals when they saw striped hyena footprints mixed in correlation with grey wolves' prints. This phenomenon was recorded for four years. Typically, striped hyenas hunt alone, while grey wolves hunt in packs. The researchers found that the two animals also hunt in packs together.

The benefits from combining their assets include both animals contributing their own specialized skills to their packs. For example, striped hyenas are better at scenting prey out, while grey wolves are better hunters.

Dinets noted that it is difficult to study interspecies cooperation, but that it is not unknown. In ancient times, humans hunted alongside dogs. Coyotes and American badgers also hunted for food together, and moray eels work rather well with coral trout and grouper.

Popular unions in the animal kingdom include Egrets and hippos. Egrets help clean hippos, while hippos provide protection for the animal. 

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