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Wolves target bulls with shed antlers, study finds

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:15 pm
by Koa
Researchers study how wolf predation shapes elk antler evolution
By phys.org staff Sept. 5, 2018
phys.org via University of Montana

What happens when you mix a biologist who studies beetle horns with scientists who spend their time exploring predator-prey dynamics? You get a better understanding of why elk shed their antlers much later than males of any other North American species.

University of Montana researchers and their partners recently published a study in Nature Ecology and Evolution chronicling an evolutionary tie between wolves and when bull elk shed their antlers.

... They discovered that wolves in Yellowstone National Park preferentially hunted bulls who already had shed their antlers over those who still had them during late winter. The finding suggests that antlers are used for more than just competing for cows—that they help deter predators, too—which could help explain why bulls shed their antlers long after the rut. [/quote]
Read the full article here: https://phys.org/wire-news/297596377/re ... ution.html

Re: Wolves target bulls with shed antlers, study finds

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:11 pm
by Sambhur
Oh that's so cool! It's one of those things that you don't really think about but when you see it written down you're like yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Wolves target bulls with shed antlers, study finds

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:52 pm
by Phasoli
What an interesting study. It really demonstrates how predation can effect the characteristics of a species.