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The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
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ScienceShot: Freeloading Wolves
29 September 2011 9:00 am
The wolf pack is often pictured as the model of cooperative hunting, but not all gray wolves (Canis lupus) work together to bring down their prey. Some are freeloaders, according to a paper published today in Behavioral Ecology. Researchers studying wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park have found that the group's kill success rate does not increase as the number of wolves grows; instead, it levels off once there are more than four wolves. That seems to be because larger packs include freeloaders, which are almost always those wolves that aren't breeding and thus don't need to risk their lives to feed pups. The freeloading wolves may appear to be cooperating, but they actually do very little until the kill is made, say the authors. In that way, they're like members of a large family joining together for a Sunday dinner—most of whom show up to eat, but don't bring home the bacon.
See more ScienceShots.