Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

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mcdanich
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Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby mcdanich » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:34 pm UTC

My friends and I have been having the following debate for quite some time now:

The scenario can be simply explained as 5 average human males (all of an athletic build) against 3 average male wolves in a fight to the death. The fight ends when all of one species is dead (at minimum one wolf remaining counts as a victory for the wolves) . Which species is the winner?

Assumptions:
The humans have no weapons of their own, but have the general understanding of how wolves attack and know how to choke out a wolf using a basic strangle hold. The humans are in their 20s and are all around 5' 10" and 180 pounds with minimal body fat.

The wolves are Grey Wolves, weighing approximately 120 lbs and are 5 ft long and are also in the physical prime age of their lives.

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby p1t1o » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:57 pm UTC

My assumption - Wolves would be very reluctant, even if hungry, to attack an aware foe that outnumbers them, all other factors being equal.

Wolves run.
Humans walk after them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting)
Wolves eventually die of exhaustion.
Humans win.

PS: "choke out a wolf with a basic strangle hold" lol!

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:44 am UTC

Even in a no-holds-barred grudge match, I'm fairly confident five adult humans would defeat three adult wolves. Assuming the humans are reasonably fit, anyway.

There is this trope out there that humans are somehow uniquely weak animals, and it is simply inaccurate. We are much larger than wolves. Even one on one, I would bet on the human every time. (Though they could easily both die in the long run without medical attention.)

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby ijuin » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:24 am UTC

Humans lack natural piercing and slashing weapons (claws and fangs), but have superior range of limb movement and superior planning, group communication, and group coordination. Humans also gain additional advantage if there is so little as a fist-sized stone or a tree branch lying around to use as a bludgeoning implement or to sharpen to a point.

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:41 am UTC

Yeah as a human I've never felt particularly threatened by the prospect of a single menacing dog (including wolves as dogs here). At most it gets one bite in and then its throat is within reach and it's game over thanks to the power of opposable thumbs that enable such super-moves as grabbing things. And then yeah I've got a nasty bite but I'm still alive and can deal with that.

Also, from personal experience, dogs are easily made more afraid of me than I am of them, so in practice it wouldn't even come to that.

Now, alone in the woods at night surrounded by a pack of wolves could be scary.
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby speising » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:50 am UTC

a single bite could be quite serious if it's from a real dog, not a house rat. and dogs have additionally four nasty claws whith which they can bother you while you try to get a hold on their neck.
i don't think it's as clear as that. we don't have any natural weapon which could pierce a wolf's skin.
once you get them mad enough to attack you, it'll get nasty.

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby tomandlu » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:04 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:Humans walk after them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting)


So... Slasher movies are surprisingly realistic? ;)

As to the original question - dunno, but I'm fairly confident that the reason we 'beat' the wolves has nothing to do with one-on-one grudge matches.
How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:10 pm UTC

speising wrote:a single bite could be quite serious if it's from a real dog, not a house rat. and dogs have additionally four nasty claws whith which they can bother you while you try to get a hold on their neck.
i don't think it's as clear as that. we don't have any natural weapon which could pierce a wolf's skin.
once you get them mad enough to attack you, it'll get nasty.

You can simply punch and kick dogs in the head. It's pretty lopsided, to be honest. Though there are certainly people who could not fight a strong wolf, most could, and pretty easily at that. That doesn't mean you wouldn't get bitten and scratched, it just means you wouldn't get dead like the wolf.

That said, there are cases of man-eating wolves repeatedly killing humans. They seem to attack by ambushing lone people, even adult men, and biting their throats. So I would stay away from this dude.

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby p1t1o » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:20 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
speising wrote:a single bite could be quite serious if it's from a real dog, not a house rat. and dogs have additionally four nasty claws whith which they can bother you while you try to get a hold on their neck.
i don't think it's as clear as that. we don't have any natural weapon which could pierce a wolf's skin.
once you get them mad enough to attack you, it'll get nasty.

You can simply punch and kick dogs in the head. It's extremely lopsided, to be honest. Though there are certainly people who could not fight a strong wolf, most could, and pretty easily at that.

That doesn't mean you wouldn't get bitten and scratched, it just means you wouldn't get dead like the wolf.


Oof, I dunno, that seems quite generous. Unless we leverage some other advantage like numbers, weapons or tactics, one on one I wouldnt want to face a wolf. There is a huge psychological component, that wolf will come straight for your life, all 60kg of pure muscle, its not gonna sidle up to you boxer-style. Whereas we are heavily ingrained by our society to avoid lethal violence (no matter how tough you [you:humans, not you:personally] talk, you have never killed anyone, I hope, the instinct is there but buried) and we have strong instincts that are directly related to being charged by toothed animals that the wolf will easily overcome. You will put your arm up, the wolf will sieze it, and from there its a downward spiral.
Anyone ever tried to get a chewtoy from a determined dog? This will be much, much worse.

Could you prevail? Certainly, but I'd say it was far from a foregone conclusion, one-on-one.

I would say that to make this a fair encounter, the humans should be allowed to use nearby objects, its our evolutionary equivalent of sharp teeth. That does tip the scales in our favour quite a lot.

But I lean heavily towards the conclusion, that 5-on-3, if you grouped together, made yourself "big" and made alot of noise, that the wolves would run, then the humans win as above.

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby speising » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:01 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
speising wrote:a single bite could be quite serious if it's from a real dog, not a house rat. and dogs have additionally four nasty claws whith which they can bother you while you try to get a hold on their neck.
i don't think it's as clear as that. we don't have any natural weapon which could pierce a wolf's skin.
once you get them mad enough to attack you, it'll get nasty.

You can simply punch and kick dogs in the head. It's pretty lopsided, to be honest. Though there are certainly people who could not fight a strong wolf, most could, and pretty easily at that. That doesn't mean you wouldn't get bitten and scratched, it just means you wouldn't get dead like the wolf.

That said, there are cases of man-eating wolves repeatedly killing humans. They seem to attack by ambushing lone people, even adult men, and biting their throats. So I would stay away from this dude.

have you ever been charged by an aggressive big dog? it's a pretty frightening experience. lift your foot to kick it and it probably bites it off - or at least hard enough to make it useless for the rest of the fight.
it really depends on the initiative rolls.

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tomandlu
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby tomandlu » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:33 pm UTC

speising wrote:it really depends on the initiative rolls.


Also, not being a halfling...
How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:46 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:That said, there are cases of man-eating wolves repeatedly killing humans.

Man, killing someone is bad enough, but repeatedly killing them...!
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:29 pm UTC

We aren't told whether the 'humans' or the 'wolves' are not actually lycanthropes and thus the inevitable victors over whoever is not. Maybe if we were given the phase of the Moon as well, in this scenario…?

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:47 pm UTC

I would win, no problem. It's pretty simple: you just put your hands forward so that the wolf heads for them, lift your hands as it lunges so it has to move it's head up and knee it in the throat, then you smash down on its nose with your fist, and throw it to the ground and kick it in the gut. This board is filled with weaklings who have probably never even killed a grizzly with their bare hands.
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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:43 pm UTC

Grizzlies don't have bare hands, though. They have bear hands.

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Re: Biology: Wolves vs. Humans

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:37 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
speising wrote:a single bite could be quite serious if it's from a real dog, not a house rat. and dogs have additionally four nasty claws whith which they can bother you while you try to get a hold on their neck.
i don't think it's as clear as that. we don't have any natural weapon which could pierce a wolf's skin.
once you get them mad enough to attack you, it'll get nasty.

You can simply punch and kick dogs in the head. It's extremely lopsided, to be honest. Though there are certainly people who could not fight a strong wolf, most could, and pretty easily at that.

That doesn't mean you wouldn't get bitten and scratched, it just means you wouldn't get dead like the wolf.


Oof, I dunno, that seems quite generous. Unless we leverage some other advantage like numbers, weapons or tactics, one on one I wouldnt want to face a wolf. There is a huge psychological component, that wolf will come straight for your life, all 60kg of pure muscle, its not gonna sidle up to you boxer-style. Whereas we are heavily ingrained by our society to avoid lethal violence (no matter how tough you [you:humans, not you:personally] talk, you have never killed anyone, I hope, the instinct is there but buried) and we have strong instincts that are directly related to being charged by toothed animals that the wolf will easily overcome. You will put your arm up, the wolf will sieze it, and from there its a downward spiral.
Anyone ever tried to get a chewtoy from a determined dog? This will be much, much worse.

Could you prevail? Certainly, but I'd say it was far from a foregone conclusion, one-on-one.

I would say that to make this a fair encounter, the humans should be allowed to use nearby objects, its our evolutionary equivalent of sharp teeth. That does tip the scales in our favour quite a lot.

But I lean heavily towards the conclusion, that 5-on-3, if you grouped together, made yourself "big" and made alot of noise, that the wolves would run, then the humans win as above.

Wolves don't have a lot of ways they can fight, so they do the only thing they can. But reach is still a big problem for them. If they bite your foot, they will not bite it off. They won't let go, but they also won't have any other way to fight or defend themselves while latched on. You don't have to be strong or a tactical genius to stick your thumbs in its eyes, your hands around its throat, or your fists in its face. And while a raging wolf won't go down easy, it will still die before you run out of blood. Usually, anyway.

When people are attacked by dogs, they usually do not fight back and attempt to escape instead or dislodge the jaws, which is futile. But if they were determined to kill it from the outset, things would go very differently.


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