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Imagine a creature capable of telekinesis. This creature is also armed with sharp teeth and claws for hunting and eating prey. Given using telekinesis to move an object is about as energy-consuming as picking up said object and moving it physically, why would such a creature still opt for a hunt without telekinesis? Physically stalking, chasing and killing prey feels much riskier. Prey has a chance to escape, creature could get hurt by prey's defences and end up with losing energy and gaining nothing. In this context, the only reason I can think of is instinct and/or the joy of the hunt. It would give much more satisfaction doing it 'the old-fashioned way' than just straight up bringing prey to you through the air. I hope that there are more reasons I cannot think of that would explain such behaviour.

Edit: the creatures are highly intelligent (> humans). They believe they have the right to take the life of prey for their nourishment, as long as it keeps nature in balance. Telekinesis is not new to them. They just possess both options.

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    $\begingroup$ Your description seems to hint at the fact that being able to use telekinesis is something new for your predator species. How new are we talking? If telekinesis evolved naturally over time your predator is unlikely to keep a set of redundant claws, etc. unless its prey has adapted to counter telekinesis (at which point telekinesis is just as likely to be dropped in favour of something different) $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Oct 22 '17 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ "using telekinesis to move an object is about as energy-consuming as picking up said object and moving it physically" note that some prey animals are often way larger than their predators (think lions and wildebeest or even giraffes!)... You will not see a lion pick up an entire adult wildebeest and carry it around. So TK has to be used judiciously as well. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Oct 22 '17 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ What is stopping your hunter using telekinesis to accelerate pebbles and use them as bullets? Unless something prevents this (perhaps level of fidelity?) your predator will turn into some sort of sniper-hunter (with the advantage of guide-able bullets). My advice? Lower the usefulness of telekinesis until it can't be used for hunting. $\endgroup$ – sdfgeoff Oct 22 '17 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ Why do Humans, with night-vision, guns and tanks... sometimes hunt with knives and bows? $\endgroup$ – WernerCD Oct 22 '17 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ Is there a reason that the telekinesis can't be used to crush the prey's heart or brain or spinal cord? Can it only be used to pick up an item like you would with your hands? $\endgroup$ – JPhi1618 Oct 23 '17 at 17:51

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Assuming that the hunter and the prey species evolved together, the hunt will never get that easy. Any creature that can be hunted by telekinesis only would have died out ages ago - all remaining prey animals would have developed skills to counter telekinesis. For example:

  • Large species like elephants or buffalo would just have evolved to be even heavier - too heavy to be moved by telekinesis
  • Animals like rabbits or gazelles that rely on flight would have developed better senses so they notice the finest touch of a telekinetic hunter, and can run away in time
  • Animals with similar talents as the hunter would have developed defensive telekinesis - they can push back a telekinetic grasp
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    $\begingroup$ Thus is the only really spot-on answer. $\endgroup$ – Stilez Oct 23 '17 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ This makes the most sense in regard to nature. The animals that are outclassed by telekinesis get hunted to death. The animals that are somewhat resilient to the telekinesis are more likely to sustain their numbers, while also favoring evolution towards an increased telekinetic resilience. Given enough time, the only animals that haven't been hunted to extinction will be the animals whose species (logically) are resilient to the telekinetic predator. $\endgroup$ – Flater Oct 23 '17 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ A very good answer (and comment) which I will definitely take into account! $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ Why giraffes are tall 101. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Oct 23 '17 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ A species that can be hunted only by telekinesis is, strictly speaking, much harder to kill than one which can be hunted merely by telekinesis. (Presumably this is why telekinesis evolved in the first place: to hunt prey (or defend against predators) which otherwise are physically unstoppable or unreachable.) $\endgroup$ – jpaugh Oct 24 '17 at 15:26
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Lions and Newton's Laws

Imagine if telekinesis were possible, but Newton's third law (For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) is still true.

If you were a lion and wanted to pull a wildebeest towards you, you would find an equal force pulling yourself towards the wildebeest. Lions and wildebeest weight about he same, so all your force accelerates both animals equally towards each other. If the lion tried this trick on a larger zebra or eland, the lion would be at the disadvantage.

There actually isn't really that much advantage to trying to tug-of-war a zebra to you. Even with two or more lions try to bring the zebra in, they are still stuck with a kicking, behooved animal that has to be grappled and subdued. Teeth and claws are still necessary.

Telekinesis in this case is most useful during the chase. Think of all those nature documentaries with a couple of lions chasing a zebra, only to give up after 20 seconds. Now imagine that once the lions are on the chase, a solid telekinetic push hits the zebra's running legs. The zebra is down, several lions are on top of it, and now it is lunch.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, as a lion you pull the zebra up and get hit with a very strong downward force... so you get a strong and stout animal. Then let the zebra drop hard and you get lifted up in the air... so you get an animal which knows how to land well. Seems unnecessary to meet the animal straight on. And lifting is possible according to the OP. $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Oct 23 '17 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ I am confused as to why this is a problem. hunting animals like pouncing on others. Having velocity towards your prey while it is coming towards you really doesn't sound like a problem - it will just close the distance even faster... $\endgroup$ – Chris Oct 23 '17 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ "There actually isn't really that much advantage to trying to tug-of-war a zebra to you.". I think rodeo cowboys would disagree with that statement. A cowboy is much lighter than, say, a bull, but he can still capture it using a lasso. The trick is to apply force where it hurts the bull more than you. $\endgroup$ – nikie Oct 23 '17 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it be able (according to Newton) to just dig your claws into the ground your standing while bringing prey towards you, to avoid moving towards your target? $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris In which case, claws and teeth are still the primary attack options. Your suggestion falls in line with the "solid telekinetic push hits the zebra's running legs" idea. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Oct 24 '17 at 13:49
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First and foremost, as others have said, telekinetically tripping your prey is all well and good, but you've still got to kill it. Hence fangs and claws.

There may also be some subtle tactile feedback that the hunter needs to exercise. For example, hunters generally do not appreciate prey that gets up and runs away from them. Wastes the hunter's energy having to chase and pounce twice. It may well be that as the claws are securing the prey beast and as the jaws are choking it, the hunter can appreciate that moment beyond which the prey can not survive. She can feel the last twitches of its heart or the relaxation of its muscles as it dies.

Very handy knowing when it's safe to let go your prey so you can enjoy your meal in peace. Assuming someone hasn't invited over a whole flock of buzzards or a pack of similarly telekinetic hyenas.

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    $\begingroup$ The tactile feedback reasoning actually has a precedent in nature, maybe: it's thought the reason why cats "play" with their prey isn't "cruelty" (which: anthropomorphic projection on animals), but that the purpose is to make sure the prey is really dead or sufficiently weakened before going in. Cats have large eyes in the front of their relatively short head where they're vulnerable, and they rely on them to hunt, so they need to keep their face away from prey until it's safe. $\endgroup$ – millimoose Oct 23 '17 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ As long as you can't (or isn't worth) crushing your prey with telekinesis, physically killing it is still needed indeed. Tactile feedback is something to take into account. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:00
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I'm going to build off L. Dutch here ...

He posits that telekinesis can only move the prey, not actually slay it (hmm ... unless you maybe push it over a cliff ;D )

So, your predator might have an approach like this:

  • Stalk the prey, get as close as you can

  • Pounce! Of course, the prey will book it for the horizon

  • Or will it? Not if you use your TK power to lift it's feet 1 inch off the ground... ;D

  • So prey is now immobilized, you can dispatch it all "red in tooth and claw"

The stalking is critically important, because prey animals are heavy. You can't keep them airborne for long. In fact, you might not be able to lift a huge wildebeest at all, but as you're chasing it you can use TK in a sideways pulse to knock one or more legs out from under it. Once it trips, you have it. (Note many cat predators do essentially this ... they chase the prey until they're close and they trip it as it runs) The advantage of TK is that:

  • You won't miss on your trip attempt

  • You don't need to get as close to go for the trip; you can now take down prey which would otherwise have gotten away

Update: Forgot to mention this before... Another thing you can do with TK is disable your enemy's defense as economically as possible. That is, instead of picking him up for a body-slam, telekinetically hold enemy's mouth shut while you fight him, or nudge his horns out of the way, or tip his chin back so you can go for the throat.

Update 2: I think the key here is economy of effort, using the TK to get just the advantage you need. Also, consider predator cubs; they'll have a ball pushing each other into the watering hole, "biting" Papa's tail when another club is closer, and so on!

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  • $\begingroup$ Good update, will take it into account! $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Century I'll expand on this a tiny bit above... $\endgroup$ – akaioi Oct 24 '17 at 15:09
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The obvious reason is that there is an evolutionary penalty associated with TK use. Try this:

There is a small (but non-zero) probability that using TK will cause a fatal ischemic event (stroke) in the predator. Any predator which consistently uses TK rather than doing it the hard way will earn a Darwin Award. The capability is still there, but will be reserved for extreme necessity.

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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't even need to be such a dramatic penalty. If TK is hard to use, such as expends a lot of energy, or has limitations such as distance, or is unreliable, such that it doesn't produce results as often as tooth and claw, then TK use will always be balanced against tooth and claw use, depending on the costs and merits of each. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Hartley Oct 23 '17 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ I think @JonathanHartley has a very good point. As long as there is a large enough penalty for using telekinesis, old-fashioned hunting would be a better option. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 18:53
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    $\begingroup$ If TK is an evolved ability, this downside makes little sense. If there's a chance you stroke out when you use TK, then the ability is a negative evolutionary selector and would likely have been bred out or be present only in a very mall part of the population. $\endgroup$ – Valthek Oct 24 '17 at 7:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Valthek, while your comment is entirely true, consider that there is a non-zero chance that your alarm going off in the morning will trigger a stroke or heart attack, yet we still use alarms :) $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 24 '17 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Valthek - Only if the price outweighs the benefit.While a TK-stroke does decrease lifespan, if using it increases food availability, then its NET benefit/cost depends entirely on the details of the two phenomena. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Oct 24 '17 at 15:34
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A common myth about snakes is that they have a physiological need to kill their prey in order to properly trigger their digestive system (or something of the sort). This is in fact not the case, with captive-bred snakes accepting pre-killed prey without a second thought (wild-caught snakes may need to be trained to accept pre-killed prey).

However, the same concept could be applied for your fantastic beast. As an evolutionary traits acquired long ago, and which may or may not be useful nowadays, the beast's digestive system is usually in a hibernating state until a specific hormonal flood triggers it. However, the beast's telekinetic powers are merely the effect of neurons firing, with no physiological effect on the beast itself (because... yeah, that's evolution for ya). However, the act of using its teeth and claws, and the significant struggle the prey is sure to offer in its attempt to escape, all release the hormones which serve to "inform" the digestive system that it should boot up and get ready for lunch.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting perspective, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent answer, with some real-world precedents. $\endgroup$ – barbecue Oct 23 '17 at 20:42
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Telekinesis without having the prey in sight is almost useless. First of all the predator needs to know which trajectory the object has to follow to reach its location. Else the prey will only hit on walls or obstacles (which is good if you want to kill it...).

Then, telekinesis will only move the prey. But it won't harm it. Once it has been brought in close proximity of the predator, it still needs to be killed. And for that teeth and claws are needed.

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  • $\begingroup$ If I were to use TK to move you to a height of 50 feet or so and drop you, TK would not have hurt you, but the fall sure would have. Birds drop crabs and clams from height onto the rocks for this purpose today so it is definitely within the evolutionary possibilities. $\endgroup$ – boatcoder Oct 23 '17 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ That would seem to depend on the relative weight of the predator and prey. As has been pointed out, prey is often (but certainly not always) on the same order weight as the predator or even larger. That's a lot of mass to push around. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 23 '17 at 9:23
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Because it brings you closer to the kill. This species views hunting and killing not just as a means to acquire nourishment but also as a right of passage, an honor. They view the relationship between predator and prey as a sacrifice by nature to the success of their own species. Only by removing the impersonal nature of 'killing at a distance' does the species feel they are truly experiencing the hunt as it is meant to be experienced. For the kill to be satisfying, the life must be taken, not just ended.

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  • $\begingroup$ This falls into the category 'joy of the hunt' and is indeed an option. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:20
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Perhaps telekinesis (TK) requires concentration to use. The predator could sit, concentrate, and move the already killed prey to a more suitable location (or could use TK for moving small children to the appropriate location) - but it would be the rare hunt that allowed its use on the fly, against moving (or fighting!) prey.

If I could lift something by spending a few seconds of mental preparation and then concentrating, it'd be great for getting a beer from the fridge during the big game - but worthless for snagging the ball out of the air so I could catch it during the big game.

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  • $\begingroup$ So you are suggesting a 'cast time'? Did not thought of that one yet. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:37
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Teeth and claws are no longer for hunting per se although stealth is still an important skill set, you need to see what you move after all. Claws and teeth are used once the prey is secured to kill and rend so that the creature can access the flesh of its kill. This means that claws are narrower, designed to cut rather than hold and teeth are for chewing not killer bone penetration or choke holds.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good point about the shape of the claws and teeth, will take it into account. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:20
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Cats scratch all the time to keep their claws trimmed back.

Possibly sharks use rending/threshing bites to help pull out some of the older teeth.

These are two physical reasons for using claws and teeth that are not about successful hunting but about maintenance and hygiene.

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Energy consumption is still a problem

Not only do you have to move it towards you, but it is also still moving. This means telekinesis is very expensive considering the cost to counteract the target running away. If you make it float, then it's still much harder than dragging it which is what predators normally do. Of course, they could kill the target with e.g. rocks but it is not unrealistic to assume there is still a while to go before they manage to figure that out.

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  • $\begingroup$ Taking into account the movement of a prey animal (as it tries to break free) is something that might indeed influence the cost of telekinesis, energy-wise. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:35
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Given how the question is framed, I'm assuming the telekinetic ability is something the creatures did not originally have but acquired at some point in the past. I'm also assuming they COULD use telekineses to catch pray, but still prefer to go on physical hunts. And I'm assuming they are of limited intelligence.

Chase hunting is more than just a way to acquire food. It's also vigorous exercise. Creatures who do minimum physical exertion are likely to be less physically fit than those who engage in active hunting.

Hunting also provides the opportunity to mark territory. A bloody fight may intimidate competing predators more than a TK effect that is not obviously associated with the predator.

It may also be significant for mating purposes. If mating instincts cause a preference for physically imposing mates, then the one who exercises more may be more successful. If creatures compete for mates, physical displays of power and aggression may improve success. Or perhaps the mating ritual itself involves a physical chase, again leading to better success for more physically active prospects.

Given the edit indicating these are highly sentient creatures, we can add more social/cultural reasons for preferring physical hunting. To define why they would not use it, identify when they WOULD use it. Perhaps the TK ability is to be used only in warfare or personal combat. Perhaps it's believed that overuse leads to impotence or some other undesirable side effect (whether the effect is real or not.)

Successful hunting without telekinesis could be a rite of passage for the young, something that is valued by adults and signifies adulthood and bonding with other adults.

The creatures could also possess a sense of fair play or sportsmanship. It could be seen as unfair or socially unacceptable to use TK for hunting. Perhaps past overuse of the ability in the past caused food shortages or extinction of prey, leading to a taboo.

Possibly religious or spiritual reasons come into play. It could be that the ability is viewed as a gift, which must not be misused. Using the gift for hunting darkens the soul, for example.

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  • $\begingroup$ House cats have no need to kill small animals, but they do, birds, rodents, insects. All you can guess is that they are doing it for fun. $\endgroup$ – boatcoder Oct 23 '17 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ @boatcoder I suspect that depends to some degree on what you consider to be "fun". Individuals who didn't derive some degree of pleasure from the hunting and killing probably were worse off for procreating compared to those who did, so there would be a selective pressure towards enjoying those activities. Whether that implies that the animals do those things "for fun" seems a philosophical question. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 23 '17 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ And also not the case as this species does not kill more than is needed to survive. But finding it to be fun to hunt might definitely be a factor. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 23 '17 at 19:22
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If the use of telekinesis is as expensive as performing the physical task, it would have limited benefit in a hunting scenario. One needs to consider that at the most basic level, a predator needs to gain more energy from its kill than it expended to thrive. A combination of TK with physical method would likely offer the best result in a hunt (as mentioned by @kingledion, among others).

If your creatures live within social groups, then group hunting would likely improve the energy expense vs. gain ratio, and TK might not be suited to this kind of activity. The hunters have not yet figured out how to combine their abilities to greater effect. More likely, certain hunters might be assigned specific TK or non-TK tasks, based on their areas of expertise.

It is also likely that there will be hunters with stronger physical abilities, and those with stronger TK abilities. If this trait is still evolving, then the more desirable/successful of these would be the ones more likely to mate successfully, with the absolute winners being those who manage to be strong in both areas.

Another possible scenario might be to separate the TKs and non-TKs in some way but make them completely interdependent in some way. For example, the males of the species are physical, while the females have the TK, with the TK being largely developed as a method of protecting themselves and their young while the males are away. Or vice versa - the females are the strong physical protectors, while the males are the wily TK-hunters (or any combination thereof. I wouldn't exclude the possibility of more than two genders, for example).

Since your creatures are more intelligent than humans, are they also more civilized/technological? A greater dependence on and use of tools would probably mean the gradual loss of their natural hunting tools (humans being a good example of this). If they shun technology, then why?

Alternatively, the species might be recently "uplifted" (to borrow a phrase from David Brin). They were a somewhat intelligent, but primitive hunter-gatherer species who were modified by mysterious super-beings for reasons known or unknown. While the higher intelligence and TK might be newly developed in the species (a generation or two or ten), the cultural norm is still to hunt with tooth and claw "because that's how it has always been done".

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  • $\begingroup$ Your technology-question is a good one that I need to consider. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 24 '17 at 16:46
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I would say, its due to maintaining respect in the pack. Whirling the prey into the air via telekinesis might look cool, and might be way more efficient. But hunting it down, proving that you can bare-clawly defeat a bigger opponent, coming home drenched in blood, reaking of adrenaline... Thats how you get to mate the awestruck females in the pack ;)

And its how you present yourself as being worthy of leading the pack. And how you show that you are adult.

And imagine fights within the pack. I assume, that using telekinesis in the fight for being the leader has been abandoned generations ago, as they might hurt each other far to badly. Its raw power of flesh and blood that counts there.

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I think the implications of a telekinetic predator need more thinking through.

Given that hunting strategy is generally some balance of "maximum effect for minimum risk and energy", I would expect that once telekinesis appears in a predatory species, it will be used eventually, not to trip animals up or pull them in.

It would be used most effectively as an ambush hunting strategy.

  • Hide
  • Await prey
  • Apply telekinesis to some crucial body part or function. A heart valve perhaps, or the glottis/larynx. Perhaps the blood flow to the brain stem, or preventing movement of the diaphragm. Or just move lots of fine dust near the eyes or nostrils.
  • Then, if prey appears to stagger or be affected, attack (with tooth and claw) before they can recover, or render them unconscious/dying and track them until they die.

That's what it might use its teeth and claws for.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure this really addresses why a predator which is capable of telekinesis would opt to hunt "with tooth and claw". You seem to be saying that it would not, but you aren't really discussing much about why not. Answers saying "that's not realistic" can be acceptable as answers, but they need to discuss why that conclusion is reached. Compare When is “that's not possible” an appropriate answer? on Worldbuilding Meta. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 23 '17 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ You've mis-read me; I haven't said it's "unrealistic". What I've said is, when considering how any predator might use tooth and claw in hunting, the starting point is always from looking at its likely (or optimal) hunting strategy to begin with. Specifically, how hunting strategies generally develop (which is generally, to play on its strengths). From that, one can suggest how and why it might use physical means, and the role its teeth and claws might play. But its overall optimal strategy is the crucial thing that dictates the answer(s) so that's where we have to start. $\endgroup$ – Stilez Oct 24 '17 at 11:07
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Telekinesis cannot arise in predatory animals only. Here I'm taking telekinetic capabilities as a trait arising through evolution. Thus in such a scenario, many prey animal will be able to TK as well. Then just as predators will try to pull pray towards them, preys will also try to push them away using telekinesis. The end result will become complex.

Given that most prey animals are heavier, this will probably result in more predatory animals being group hunters. Small animals like rodents will really have a hard time. So they'll probably evolve some shielding capabilities.

As for claws and fangs, I think they'll probably shrink to some degree, as a predator can break prey's neck using telekinesis. But removing flesh will still require sharp teeth and good grabbing claws. But since a prey animal can easily break the neck of a predator, the result is hard to predict.

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Perhaps the closest real-world analogy is the Electric Eel. It's "telekinesis" is used to disable its prey. Beyond that, "tooth and claw" still come into play.

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energy consumption... put a larger energy penalty on TK.

The animal will use teeth and claws when it can in order to suffer less fatigue.

fatigue leaves the creature open to attack or something along those lines so it will only use it in a life or death situation, rather than to gain food?

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Since the OP mentions that the creatures are of high intelligence (> human), I'm going to suggest these creatures have a fairly modern society, rather than a pack or animal society. In that society, it could be taboo, if not illegal, in their culture to hunt with their TK.

They may teach their children to hunt with TK as basic survival skills, but as they grow up, are taught that hunting without TK is a rite of passage and to continue hunting without it grows respect among society, like an NFL player scoring X amount of TD's in a game. TK could be used to distract or entice prey, but the actually killing is taboo.

This could mean that taking down larger prey without TK at all would be something that a superior warrior or hunter would be striving for. On the other side of the coin would be those who may be shunned for using TK to hunt. These may be people who are/were starving and needed food more than accolades.

There are many twists you could use: A great hunter that secretly uses TK and is found out; a great hunter that used to use TK as a young adult, but has "reformed" and is telling his story; someone who uses TK openly, finally breaks society of it's aversion to TK during a hunt, and brings about an "industrial revolution" style boom to society; a simple distinction between hunting for fun and hunting for food.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cultural influence is certainly something I take into consideration, thanks! $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 24 '17 at 16:48
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Similar to some vampire stories requiring them to drink living blood, these creatures may get an extra boost off drinking the "life force" of their prey during the kill, which they wouldn't get by using TK. Some form of energy transfer is done and the hunter gets a temporary, or possibly permanent, boost in their own "life force".

This "life force" could be what TK gets it's power from, so hunters may want to prevent draining their TK unless absolutely necessary during a hunt.

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Why would a predatory creature capable of using telekinesis still hunt with tooth and claw?

Because they don't have opposable thumbs.

the creatures are highly intelligent (> humans). They believe they have the right to take the life of prey for their nourishment, as long as it keeps nature in balance.

(EDIT: this section of the answer is added because the question has the #reality-check tag.)

There aren't creatures more intelligent than humans, and of the ones which are close, only dolphins don't have something akin to opposable thumbs.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/universality-of-preadaptation-for-the-human-condition/

“Overall, it now seems possible to draw a reasonably good explanation of why the human condition is a singularity, why the likes of it has occurred only once and took so long in coming. The reason is simply the extreme improbability of the preadaptations necessary for it to occur at all. Each of these evolutionary steps has been a full-blown adaptation in its own right. Each has required a particular sequence of one or more preadaptations that occurred previously. Homo sapiens is the only species of large mammal – thus large enough to evolve a human-sized brain – to have made every one of the required lucky turns in the evolutionary maze.” (Wilson, 2012: 45)

One of those lucky turns was grasping hands.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, it is creature-design/world building, so I hope it is allowed to have creatures with higher intelligence than humans in my world :) But thank you for your perspective. Also, I did not mention them having or not having opposable thumbs, so that is not necessarily an issue. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 24 '17 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Century you asked why they still hunt with tooth and claw (that's part 1 of my answer), and have the reality-check tag (that's part two of my answer). $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 24 '17 at 10:12
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    $\begingroup$ thank you for clarifying, I now understand the context. I have indeed added the tag because of a 'check' how real it would be for a creature to still go on physical hunts if it has other options. But your addition is also something to take into account. It now so happens that I had already designed this creature with opposable thumbs in mind, but I did not realize how important that might be. So thank you for your perspective. $\endgroup$ – Century Oct 24 '17 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Century you're welcome. Now you're desire for them to hunt with tooth and claw means that TK can replace muscle-powered spears and sling shots with small rocks aimed right at the prey's head. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 24 '17 at 10:57
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I have major problems with most of the answers given. If the predator is intelligent, think how you would hunt with minimal effort! The weapons of choice that I can think of: resilient leaves (plastic bags if they're available) and tiny dense rocks. The leaves would be used to make a seal over the nose and mouth of the prey animal, suffocating the prey. The rocks become guided bullets. If you've felt the recoil of a gun, you know that it's easy to withstand the force over a large area (like your hand/arm/shoulder), but the bullet is still able to pierce a very small area (the target). This becomes even easier as a telekinetic because you don't require physical contact while you are accelerating the stone.

If you're tripping or tearing with the kinetic force you're using too much energy.

A better reason to use "traditional" hunting techniques: Because use of telekinetic activity is detectable. Presumably the prey animals have evolved in the same environment as the predator. They have learned to detect a minute scent residue that lingers in an area when a predator uses telekinetics, or maybe the use of telekinetic skills makes a certain "sound" that many animals have justifiably learned to fear. The moment telekinetics is used, the prey animals disappear. (Maybe literally! If telekinetics is possible, maybe cloaking is too!)

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Is the telekinesis capability an inborn trait or acquired through tools (like guns and humans)?

If its an inborn trait, the accepted and most other answers apply.

If not, all the other species are going to be at a severe disadvantage without the natural evolution(in terms of opposing/competing capability). This species is quickly going to multiply and thus exterminate its food sources. Then they have two options

  • Become vegan
  • Eat each other and thus make themselves extinct

But wait; since they are intellectually evolved, they will most likely cultivate prey farms + slaughter houses (they don't really need to use telekinesis nor claws now) and thus become couch potatoes.

Law of Limits.

There are always limits to a capability in the physical world. Whether that capability was species invented or naturally gifted. Lets limit our scope and assume that the telekinesis works reasonably only on prey that are within a physical size range(say above rabbits and below elephants).

So when would they use old fashioned hunting?

  • When they are old/disabled/weakened in the telekinetic capabilities

  • Since they are intellectually superior, they understand the importance of training to keep the capabilities sharp as a backup plan. And thus occasionally hunt using claws and teeth to practice.

  • Applying the law of limits, if they want to snack on a chicken or feast on a dinosaur, they would have to do it the old fashioned way - claws and teeth.

  • When one member of the species decides to telekinetically steal another's meal. Or when two or more competing members of the species target the same prey. Now they will get engaged in a telekinetic slugfest - and thus to gain an upper hand hunt also using claw and teeth.

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