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There are no humans on this planet, obviously, but could an ambush predator fill the same niche as a human did on Earth? I'm unsure if humans being pursuit predators actually mattered in our growth in intelligence, so I guess that's why I'm asking this question! Let's assume these aliens are also very social creatures, living in packs and whatnot. Could this also affect their future society?

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  • $\begingroup$ Evolution don't necessarily have a purpose and surely it doesn't lead to greater complexity... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 10 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ what do you mean by ambush predator, are you talking lions or crocodiles. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 10 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ Well, they're aliens, so, not lions or crocodiles... $\endgroup$ – FelisMiscellaneous Jan 11 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ @FelisMiscellaneous I believe he means do they ambush by stalking their prey like or lion, or just wait around for food to come to it like a crocodile $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 15 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Like a lion, then. $\endgroup$ – FelisMiscellaneous Jan 15 at 23:25
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As long as it is to the evolutionary advantage of the creature then yes, it could happen.

It makes sense that, for a predator that ambushes it's prey, it would be beneficial for a species to have the ability to work well together, predict it's prey well in advance and perhaps even create tools to assist. The more prey they can catch the better the mutation of this species will survive and so the more advantageous it is.

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  • $\begingroup$ This pretty much reads like a description of humans. We might technically be omnivores, but humans used many ambush techniques to hunt prey. Just tweak the diet to exclude plants, and you have a human-level sentient ambush predator. $\endgroup$ – Greg Burghardt Jan 10 at 16:15
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Humans are pretty good ambush predators. Of course that's not all they do, and I would think that anything that fills the "human" niche would have to be a generalist, like humans.

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As for why greater intelligence would be an evolutionary advantage: Ambush predators could have used greater intelligence to improve their hunting techniques- traps, ranged weapons, and artificial camouflage spring to mind. In humans, developing tools (spears, atlatls, and such) made our basic "chase the animal until it collapses from exhaustion" strategy much more effective, so there's no reason that the "jump out at your prey from a tree/the water/etc." approach couldn't also be improved by basic tools.

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