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Historical wildlife interactions?

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Is anyone familiar with this subject, what its specific branch of study would be called, or what studies/research efforts have been put into the subject?

I'm curious because I was wondering about how historic humans (probably likely definitely) have used hunting, poison or other methods as a means to limit populations of animals that predated on us (tigers, lions, bears, wolves, crocodiles and so on).

I was wondering if there were/are parallels to this seen in other species?

We know that the inverse happens- predators do hunt their prey into extinction (cases of invasive species of wild rats absolutely butchering native populations, amongst others) but do we know of other/similar cases where prey species hunted or otherwise killed their predators into obscurity?

Or if hunting/killing their predators into submission does not exist, does there exist other cases of prey actively taking down their natural predators in general?

Key word here is actively, not as in response to a threat but deliberately going out of their way to suppress their predatory species.

Updated October 4th, 2016 at 04:00 PM by Apple



  1. Dullahan's Avatar
    Anthrozoology would be your closest bet, I think. Not my area so I can't really comment.
  2. Spinach's Avatar
    It's not like humans are exactly a 'prey' animal even in regards to the species you listed that occasionally historically predated on humans. As pack predators that operated primarily during the daytime, prehistoric humans likely had no single species of predator that viewed them as viable prey, only opportunistically. Just like a grizzly bear is reluctant to outright fight a pack of wolves, a grizzly wouldn't want to fight a group of adult human men either. But if it saw a human in isolation, it would be far more inclined to view it as prey.

    For the most part, prey don't wipe out predators. Something is a prey species because of physical inferiority and lack of natural weapons. There are nonpredators that kill predators for reasons other than defense, like hippos, but those also aren't prey. Just psychopaths.
  3. Spinach's Avatar
    So really, this is more like competing predators wiping out their competitors. Other species do do this. Lions will slaughter hyenas and not eat them, wolves will kill other wolf packs for their territory.