Griffins are the size of mountain lions, with wings that are used to glide. So a group of Griffins, instead of pursuing their prey over ground, could jump off a high rock and glide downwards and go for the kill. According to wikipedia, "Cougars are ambush predators, feeding mostly on deer and other mammals". So, supposedly, wings that enable the griffin to glide should improve its hunting capabilities.

But how would deer, elk, mountain sheep/goats be different in response to this? Would there be no difference?


3 Answers 3


My thinking is that they would perch on the ridges and swoop down into the valleys to get their food rather than ambushing. This would change the evolutionary pressures on their prey mostly Racoons and ungulates forcing them to look up more and to hide in wooded areas. For browsers Deer and their kin, this would actually be a boon but for the grazers not so much. So faster more cryptic animals with better upward vision. The swooping down suggests vision based hunting so the winged-catamounts would either be diurnal or have owl-like night vision.

its prey would take even more advantage of the Selfish Herd so you should see an increase in herd sizes. Being in large groups so your buddy gets eaten instead of you would work well against swoopers. Alternately staying in the thick woods and eating browse would be a solution. Running around by one's self in meadows would not.

They would also most likely be extinct in the United States because they would be a threat to livestock and settlers and be fairly easy to hit with a rifle. Also flying pumas being no ambushing apex predators wouldn't be good at hiding. Historically there were bounties on non-flying pumas. Griffins would definitely have them. Also the beautiful plumage.

The joke about flying cougars in Dodgeball : an underdog story would not be a joke.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't get it (the joke). $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 18:51

There are two options here, the gryphons can fly (like an eagle) or the gryphon can glide (like a flying squirrel).

In the former case you're looking at herd animals of larger sizes than normal keeping a sky watch. Large eagles can take young lambs, fauns and the like. However as they get older they get too big to remain prey from the sky. If there were much larger avian predators, larger creatures would remain alert to threats from the air. There might also be a tendency to become larger. Exceeding the maximum size the predator can handle being a valid defence from aerial predation. (I'm ignoring minor details like the things being too heavy to fly.)

In the latter case I can't see it being an especially practical hunter if it can only glide from a perch. Animals would largely be safe on the open plains as long as they kept clear of high cliffs. As an example of this sort of learned behaviour, there are herds of deer that still won't approach where the cold war borders used to be.

  • $\begingroup$ "Exceeding the maximum size the predator can handle being a valid defence from aerial predation." this is exactly why we don't see Rocs anymore elephants got too big. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Feb 3, 2016 at 18:59

Griffins become an apex predator they would have no other creatures that could harm them ( except maybe the large moose). The additional ability to fly would not only make a ambushing prey a lot easier. Chasing down and overpowering their prey would also become easier. The usual tricks that prey animals use to get away from a mountain lion wouldn't work on a Griffin.

Because of this the population of other animals be completely devastated the Griffins hunt them to extinction. This would eventually backfire as soon the one of the any food the Griffins to eat. The population of Griffins would drop quickly. Executions population go down the population of prey animals would eventually. The rise in available food causes the population of Griffin to rise again. This would repeat itself over and over again until you would eventually reach an equilibrium.

In the end to summarize you would have a world very much like today except for with Griffins as the apex predator ( other than humans) with some species of prey animals extinct.

Prey animals that didn't it go extinct, would probably do most of their grazing near cave or maybe a very thickly wooded forest or some other place where they could cancel fly advantage of a Griffin. If they somehow managed to detect the Griffin before he ambush them they a retreat into the cave.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you've got a decent answer, but it's not clear enough. Try reviewing real life predator/prey relationships, and rewrite your answer to clarify what you're trying to say. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ First, let me just say all I have done is replaced mountain lions with griffins. Mountain Lions are apex predators, and they don't hunt everything else to extinction. I was wondering if nature would push for faster sheep, animals with increased jumping ability, that kind of thing. How would animas evolve to not be munched by a gliding mountain lion. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderTheZenon he Griffin with the ability to fly would be harder to get away from, ambushing animals would be much easier. The prey animals will not be able to compete. The tricks they would use to get away from a regular mountain lion would not apply. I can't possibly see how jumping higher would affected situation much a flying creature could easily Dodge or otherwise outmaneuver ajumping one in the air. jumping towards a Griffin would only save it sometime because I wouldn't have to fly down to you. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ I doubt prey animals would be hunted to extinction. There's a supply:demand ratio in effect: once it becomes too hard for a population of predators to find food, their numbers decline (for a variety of factors). With fewer hunters, the prey populations recover. globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/predation/… $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't say the prey would be hunted to extinction I said some of them would. I agree with you most and still survive because Asus food supply began to decrease, so would number Griffins and tell you eventually reach equilibrium. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 18:35

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