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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I think you need to define what you mean by top.

    At the moment you're able to (and repeatedly have) trivially dispute any answer your given. But you're disputing them not on the basis that the given answer is wrong but rather on the basis that it doesn't qualify against a set of criteria that you are changing to suit your current response. that makes it impossible to answer your question in any meaningful way.

    I suspect your definition for "top" is basically who would win in a fight, the answer to which is almost always whoever is in their own element.
    By top I mean top of the food chain, the top predator in the Oceans. The idea is to examine all of the main contenders and determine what is the overall top oceanic predator. I can't be too restrictive, it could be the fastest, the most poisonous, the most heavily armoured, the most intelligent, or the best all rounder. I have tried to use only quality references in order to avoid trivializing the determination.

    As these are all oceanic creatures they should all be in their element, unlike man going into the sea.

    I am sorry that old Bluey is not the top predator as she is not even capable of attacking any of the medium to larger fish or sea mammals, and is instead prey for the faster predators with sharper teeth, like an elephant or giraffe on land. If you still think the Blue whale is the top predator, make a case for it against all the other predators in the ocean.
    Last edited by Witis; Aug 9th, 2012 at 07:37 AM.
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  2. #42

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by SJWhiteley View Post
    I concur, and was about to say this.

    the ocean is a large place with different environments. Marine creatures have the ability to get away from one another, and the 'top predators' in one region have no contact with predators in another. It's like saying 'who would win: a red 1984 Ferrari Testarossa or a blue 1997 Ford F250?'
    Nonetheless determining the top oceanic predator is the goal of this thread.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Also, I refer you to the George Bush Quote in my sig. Can't all the fish just get along? Peace, Love and Plankton, Baby!
    Fish taste good!
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witis View Post
    Nonetheless determining the top oceanic predator is the goal of this thread.
    And the answer is: There isn't one!

    All animals die, and all are consumed by something else. They are also all killed by something, which may be as simple as a virus, as random as being struck by a cargo ship, as bizarre as being eaten from the inside out by a parasite, or as obvious as being consumed by a predator. Furthermore, there are plenty of situations where a single species can be both predator and prey to a second species. You mentioned the animals that prey on humans, but there isn't a single one of those animals that hasn't been slaughtered by humans, while most have been driven to the brink of extinction, if not beyond, by humans. This includes the Great Whites.

    You want to reduce the complexity of a food web to a single pyramid that has a single seat on top. Any answer you come up with that fits that criteria is flat out wrong. It's a web, not a chain. There is no beginning and no end. Nobody is best.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Can't all the fish just get along?
    Exactly.....Make Waves Not War
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    It's a web, not a chain.
    Damnit, you stole my answer!

    By top I mean top of the food chain, the top predator in the Oceans. The idea is to examine all of the main contenders and determine what is the overall top oceanic predator. I can't be too restrictive, it could be the fastest, the most poisonous, the most heavily armoured, the most intelligent, or the best all rounder. I have tried to use only quality references in order to avoid trivializing the determination.
    This paragraph illustrates the whole problem withe the premise of your question.

    You start by saying the "top of the food chain". Putting aside Shaggy's correct assertion that there's no such thing and pretending there is for a second, you then go on to say the fastest, most poisonous etc. What's to say those things corellate in any way? Why does the one that eats everything else have to be the most physically endowed? And if you want to judge by physical endowment then you need to somehow rank those endowments and provide a scoring mechanism, otherwise any answer given will be disputable as there's defined set of rules. It's like watching the old Gladiators shows where John Anderson would randomly disqualify the gldiators and contestants for rules that nobody had mentioned up to that point... because there were no rules. Don't get me wrong, it made for great TV and we all enjoyed staring at Jet's rack but it hardly constituted a properly competitive sport.

    Also, I think you're concept of top predators predating on each other is also flawed. I risk being corrected on this one, particularly by Shaggy who's a fish biologist, but I don't believe top predators generally do that. They may kill each other to eliminate competition and may even feed upon teh resulting corpse, but top predators rarely (probably never) represent each other's primary food source. The reason for that is quite obvious. Top predators ARE fast, strong and intelligent. They have finely honed senses of smell, sight and hearing. They have all these things becaase, in the final analysis, unless they are better endowed than their prey they will die of starvation and the species will become extinct. Prey animals, on the other hand, can afford to be slow, weak and dumb... just as long as they breed in enough numbers and enough grass or seaweed to ensure the survival of the species. so if you're a predator what's your best survival strategy: 1. to eat cows or 2: to eat lions.

    Finally this "As these are all oceanic creatures they should all be in their element" is utterly wrong. That's like saying the land constitutes a constistent enviroment everywhene on the planet. It doesn't and neither does the sea. An arctic ocean presents an utterly different enviroment to a tropical one. A busy shipping lane will affect it. A reef. An area with shallows as opposed to a deep sea trench.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    I won't contradict that. Most predators avoid directly competing with each other because it's such a bad idea. Wolves could take a mountain lion, or even a grizzly, but they would suffer losses in doing so. Since they don't reproduce all that fast, they can't afford to suffer many losses, or they will be wiped out. After all, they are in it for one thing: Survival. Therefore, they will always run from a fight they judge to be fair, because winning means nothing, and only eating without taking loss is acceptable. Therefore, they don't take on something they feel might be able to hurt them.

    For instance, the reason that wolves eat elk is because elk are disorganized. For elk, it is sufficient if the wolves eat some other member of the herd, as long as they themselves survive. If elk were to work as a team, they'd eliminate wolves (or more likely, the wolves would change prey), because they would stomp the wolves into jam. Since they don't work as a team, the wolves can separate a single animal, while the rest of the herd runs off. Against a single animal, the wolves can exploit an unguarded flank, and rarely lose a pack member. If that was not the case, and the elk teamed up, the wolves might lose one or more members in each hunt, which would wipe out a pack in a month, or so.

    It's all just probability math out there, and the animals all play the percentages.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    And the answer is: There isn't one!
    Not sure I am with you on this point, it seems quite obvious that Man is currently the top organic based life form on this planet, even though Man can be struck down by viruses including Ebola and Aids or eaten by Lions and Great White sharks. As a result it does not seem an insurmountable task to determine the top oceanic predator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    All animals die, and all are consumed by something else. They are also all killed by something, which may be as simple as a virus, as random as being struck by a cargo ship, as bizarre as being eaten from the inside out by a parasite, or as obvious as being consumed by a predator.
    Sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Furthermore, there are plenty of situations where a single species can be both predator and prey to a second species. You mentioned the animals that prey on humans, but there isn't a single one of those animals that hasn't been slaughtered by humans, while most have been driven to the brink of extinction, if not beyond, by humans. This includes the Great Whites.
    That's correct, being able to prey on another species does not automatically put it higher up the predatory hierarchy and working out which species is dominant when there are two species that can kill each other is the fun part of the challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You want to reduce the complexity of a food web to a single pyramid that has a single seat on top. Any answer you come up with that fits that criteria is flat out wrong. It's a web, not a chain. There is no beginning and no end. Nobody is best.
    Not sure I agree, while some calls are tricky others are fairly straightforward. In this case the top oceanic predator was fairly easy to spot with the information that I have, although determining silver and bronze is a bit more difficult.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Damnit, you stole my answer!

    This paragraph illustrates the whole problem withe the premise of your question.

    You start by saying the "top of the food chain". Putting aside Shaggy's correct assertion that there's no such thing and pretending there is for a second, you then go on to say the fastest, most poisonous etc. What's to say those things corellate in any way? Why does the one that eats everything else have to be the most physically endowed? And if you want to judge by physical endowment then you need to somehow rank those endowments and provide a scoring mechanism, otherwise any answer given will be disputable as there's defined set of rules. It's like watching the old Gladiators shows where John Anderson would randomly disqualify the gldiators and contestants for rules that nobody had mentioned up to that point... because there were no rules. Don't get me wrong, it made for great TV and we all enjoyed staring at Jet's rack but it hardly constituted a properly competitive sport.
    That's the fun of it, trying to work out all the strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner and then determining which strategies currently dominate. It doesn't have to be the most physically endowed it could also be the most intelligent or the best all rounder.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Also, I think you're concept of top predators predating on each other is also flawed. I risk being corrected on this one, particularly by Shaggy who's a fish biologist, but I don't believe top predators generally do that. They may kill each other to eliminate competition and may even feed upon teh resulting corpse, but top predators rarely (probably never) represent each other's primary food source.
    If there is no competition over prey it is unlikely that there is any need for two predators to fight each other except to try to assert dominance which does occur in some cases, the Orcas for instance are very prone to attacking and humiliating many oceanic species although the Orcas are not as tough as they make out and these showy displays are more a symptom of being placed in a situation where they largely have no escape strategy against several oceanic predators and are therefore forced into an primarily offensive strategy which includes intimidation and humiliation. In cases where there is no or limited data regarding the interactivity between two species there are sometimes clues regarding the probable outcome of any conflict which helps coming to a final determination.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Finally this "As these are all oceanic creatures they should all be in their element" is utterly wrong. That's like saying the land constitutes a constistent enviroment everywhene on the planet. It doesn't and neither does the sea. An arctic ocean presents an utterly different enviroment to a tropical one. A busy shipping lane will affect it. A reef. An area with shallows as opposed to a deep sea trench.
    Nonetheless they are all oceanic creatures and water is their element by definition. To me it doesn't matter if they only live in reefs, or only in tropical or artic environments, what I am looking for is a creature's capacity to make it as the world's best oceanic predator.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witis View Post
    Not sure I agree, while some calls are tricky others are fairly straightforward. In this case the top oceanic predator was fairly easy to spot with the information that I have, although determining silver and bronze is a bit more difficult.
    Really? You already determined which was the top predator? All the rest of this must have been just smoke then, and very effective smoke, too, as I can't tell which species you chose after all this writing.

    "Working out which species is dominant" is only a fun part of the challenge if you don't care about being right in your conclusion.

    Your analysis of the motivations of orcas is downright bizarre, though there does seem to be a use for doing so. It sounds like you are trying to come up with a handicapping scheme for a new 'fantasy' league. Is that what you are doing? Some kind of Fantasy Predators, Ocean Edition? If that isn't the case, then you assigning motives to animals that are totally unfounded, even theoretically. Animals don't get "humiliated". They are all bottome line in their evaluation: Any time you live for another day you are a winner, and there is no second place. That goes just as much for predators as prey, since every single animal performs both roles every day. Only the plants are exclusively prey (and not all of them, either).
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witis View Post
    That's the fun of it, trying to work out all the strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner and then determining which strategies currently dominate. It doesn't have to be the most physically endowed it could also be the most intelligent or the best all rounder.Nonetheless they are all oceanic creatures and water is their element by definition. To me it doesn't matter if they only live in reefs, or only in tropical or artic environments, what I am looking for is a creature's capacity to make it as the world's best oceanic predator.
    That's utter nonsense. The ocean is filled with microenvironments. Take an animal out of the area that it is capable of living in, and the toughest predator will become....dead. Every animal in the ocean has parts of the ocean where it would die swiftly. That means that there are parts of the ocean where it would be largely nonfunctional, though not explicitly dead. For example, there is an invasive cichlid in south Florida that I did a little work with. Where it was living, it would fight with pretty much anything, even predators many times its size, for food. In a fish tank, the cichlid would attack anything it could identify as being alive, and thereby killed most other fish we put in a tank with it. However, a cold front came through and dropped the temperature into the 50s...and the cichlids died by the thousands. In fact, they are so sensitive to temperature changes that they will never spread further north out of south Florida, as they can't handle the occasional cold snaps.

    Currently, I work with Salmon. Put a Chinook down in the same water with that cichlid, and one of the two would be dead very soon, though there would be no competition. Water cold enough for the Chinook would be lethal to the cichlid, whereas water warm enough for the cichlid would kill a Chinook in seconds. Therefore, each has certain requirements that it can't live without. You recognize that water is one of those requirements, as you are not attempting to say whether a lion is tougher than a shark, yet you fail to recognize that two different regions of water are as sharp a division as water is to air. In both cases, only organisms adapted to live in that environment CAN live in that environment. Saying that a lethal zone of the ocean is somehow a lesser distinction than any other lethal habitat simply because it is still wet, is a sophmoric argument. Dead is dead, and an organism that is not in an environment where it can survive is just as dead in one such environment as another.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Really? You already determined which was the top predator? All the rest of this must have been just smoke then, and very effective smoke, too, as I can't tell which species you chose after all this writing.
    Still working out the places.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    "Working out which species is dominant" is only a fun part of the challenge if you don't care about being right in your conclusion.
    Don't agree, just get as much key information as is currently available from science and then apply logic although doing this is a lot of work and there are always some difficulties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Your analysis of the motivations of orcas is downright bizarre, though there does seem to be a use for doing so. It sounds like you are trying to come up with a handicapping scheme for a new 'fantasy' league. Is that what you are doing? Some kind of Fantasy Predators, Ocean Edition? If that isn't the case, then you assigning motives to animals that are totally unfounded, even theoretically. Animals don't get "humiliated". They are all bottome line in their evaluation: Any time you live for another day you are a winner, and there is no second place. That goes just as much for predators as prey, since every single animal performs both roles every day. Only the plants are exclusively prey (and not all of them, either).
    I brought the point up regarding the Orcas in response to the argument that predators do not attack each other, which is not true, particularly of the ocean where the number of herbivores is very small think manatees for example thus predators eating predators is the norm not the exception. So determining the top predator is a natural extension of the oceanic environment.

    Orcas have been documented to kill and then humiliate other predatory species by tossing their corpses around in the water like passing a football in a showy display of dominance. The reason why they behave in such a manner gives some insight into their predicament in the ocean, they are forced into a primarily offensive strategy against an oceanic food chain where they have no means of escaping from the top oceanic predators. It is a rather scary thought and reminds me of the sort of society you were complaining about at the start of this thread focusing on the survival of the fittest and the obviation of compassion and mercy.

    By contrast the seals have a chance of escaping onto land from any ocean bound predators which is the sort of advantage that results in a less offensively based society and gives these animals the chance to evolve to some extent away from the extreme harshness of the oceanic food chain. The Sea Otters also have this advantage.
    Last edited by Witis; Aug 10th, 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    That's utter nonsense. The ocean is filled with microenvironments. Take an animal out of the area that it is capable of living in, and the toughest predator will become....dead.
    I am not asking it to be the top predator on land, it just has to do enough to put its evolutionary design into the foreground to be considered as a potential candidate for top predator regardless of its particular micro-environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Every animal in the ocean has parts of the ocean where it would die swiftly. That means that there are parts of the ocean where it would be largely nonfunctional, though not explicitly dead. For example, there is an invasive cichlid in south Florida that I did a little work with. Where it was living, it would fight with pretty much anything, even predators many times its size, for food. In a fish tank, the cichlid would attack anything it could identify as being alive, and thereby killed most other fish we put in a tank with it. However, a cold front came through and dropped the temperature into the 50s...and the cichlids died by the thousands. In fact, they are so sensitive to temperature changes that they will never spread further north out of south Florida, as they can't handle the occasional cold snaps.

    Currently, I work with Salmon. Put a Chinook down in the same water with that cichlid, and one of the two would be dead very soon, though there would be no competition. Water cold enough for the Chinook would be lethal to the cichlid, whereas water warm enough for the cichlid would kill a Chinook in seconds. Therefore, each has certain requirements that it can't live without.
    As far as I can tell this does not apply to any of the top oceanic predators currently being examined.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You recognize that water is one of those requirements, as you are not attempting to say whether a lion is tougher than a shark, yet you fail to recognize that two different regions of water are as sharp a division as water is to air. In both cases, only organisms adapted to live in that environment CAN live in that environment. Saying that a lethal zone of the ocean is somehow a lesser distinction than any other lethal habitat simply because it is still wet, is a sophmoric argument. Dead is dead, and an organism that is not in an environment where it can survive is just as dead in one such environment as another.
    The point of this thread is not to compare lions and sharks, nonetheless, it does sound like an interesting theoretical match up so I will offer a suggested theoretical winner after I have finalised the oceanic predator results.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    This thread should have had a poll lol.
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    Results: The Top Oceanic Predator Besides Man

    In order to determine the top ocean predator I had to compare the primary contenders: the Mako shark, billfish, the fastest regularly toothed fish such as tuna, bonito and Wahoo, non whale mammals such as the seals and the Sea Otter, the whales including dolphins, porpoises, Orcas, Cachalot (Sperm Whale), and old Bluey, sea snakes and sea birds.

    The Mako shark by design is the most intimidating creature in the ocean. Rows and rows of razor sharp teeth that never stop growing ensure that it always capable of devouring any prey no matter how tough the skin, bone or flesh. As it is the fastest oceanic shark it is capable of evading the larger Great White and Tiger Sharks and fast enough to prey on the fastest fish such including tuna and many species of billfish. Likewise it has the speed to catch and devour any sea mammal and unlike the sea mammals there is nothing in the design of the shark that prevents it from being classified as a mammal predator. There are only a couple of fish that can potentially swim faster than the Mako and they are the Indo-Pacific Sailfish and the erroneously named, predominantly silver, Black Marlin. Wiki cites the Indo-Pacific Sailfish as the fastest fish in the ocean (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billfish).

    Although the fastest billfish are able to herd smack and eat fish smaller than itself, the bill, when used as a sword, is not quite strong enough to present a serious threat to sharks, fish such as tuna or oceanic mammals. This means that a billfish cannot use its superior speed to herd the Mako as it won't take the Mako long to realise the bill is not a serious threat. Unable to use its bill/sword to dominate the Mako it is unable to capitalise on its speed advantage and instead has to live in fear of the Mako which means the fastest fish is not going to make it as the top oceanic predator.

    The next group of predators are the fastest fish such as the tuna, bonito, and Wahoo. These fish are fast and capable of behaving like oceanic piranhas to turn sea mammals into easy chow and should not be underestimated. Moreover the fastest species are capable of evading the larger sharks and are bested only by the Mako.

    Onto the sea mammals where the obvious design flaw is their teeth as they are not strong enough to allow them to eat sharks regularly which means they cannot be classified as true shark predators. Moreover there are none that are intelligent enough to do their own dental work to overcome this limitation.

    In addition to its dental limitations the Orca is not fast enough to escape the Mako or tuna making it look more like sushi than top predator. Furthermore being constantly forced to the surface to breath makes it easy for the Mako and tuna to prey on or escape from the Orcas, making the Mako and tuna the Orca's death from below.

    The Cachalot's (Sperm Whale) place in the predatory hierarchy is primarily a function of its teeth. They have the largest set of teeth of any predator in the animal kingdom protruding from its lower jaw; however, it is unclear just how much of a weapon they are against Orcas and baleen whales.

    Old Bluey is just too slow to get away from the Mako, tuna and Orca which is why she didn't make it. Same goes for the rest of the Baleen whales.

    Next the seals are almost certainly intelligent enough to work out how to cooperate to turn individual sharks on their back to make them easy prey, their main strength is their ability to evade sharks by escaping onto land.

    The Sea Otter is arguably the most intelligent and handsome creature in the ocean and the creature that most closely resembles Man and as a result has the most potential of any sea creature that I have looked at. In particular its ability to evade sharks by escaping to land allows it to evolve in a partially sheltered manner away from the harsh and unforgiving oceanic environment. However it still does not have sufficient intelligence to be classified as a true shark predator, and this means the most intelligent oceanic creature, as indicated by using its hand like paws to turn over rocks, crack open shellfish and catch fish, is not going to make it as the top oceanic predator.

    In the case of the sea snakes although they produce a potent venom they are nonetheless regular prey for Tiger sharks which means that the most venomous of the top contenders is not going to make it as the top predator.

    The sea birds can harass sea mammals using their beaks and talons; however, I don't think they are a threat to the Mako shark, it would have to be a pretty big Pelican.

    As a result the top oceanic predator besides man is:
    Code:
    The Mako shark winning by a tooth.
    Man is the only true mammalian shark predator on the planet mainly as it has sufficient intelligence to overcome any physical limitations in particular being capable of using knives and dentistry to compensate for relatively weaker teeth.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    In relation to Shaggy Hiker's extension "whether a lion is tougher than a shark" I suggest that as the Mako is faster than all oceanic mammals then theoretically it has to be faster than Lions too. In addition just like all the oceanic mammals the lion's teeth are going to let it down and not allow it to regularly prey on sharks meaning it is not designed as a true shark predator and cannot overcome this limitation.

    The conclusion seems straightforward: Mako > Lions.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Hmm....its seems your analysis is based in far more hypothetical stuff than fact. Case in point: Tuna if they acted like pirannahs.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    Hmm....its seems your analysis is based in far more hypothetical stuff than fact. Case in point: Tuna if they acted like pirannahs.
    While it is true the fastest fish such as tuna and Wahoo don't have the hardware in the teeth department relative to sharks, they are still quite impressive. (eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB_wgL-TsmA)
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    well the Orcinus orca are considered to be the apex predators.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale


    oh and this one here is the top predator of the ocean..

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    Last edited by Justa Lol; Aug 12th, 2012 at 11:07 AM.

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justa Lol View Post
    well the Orcinus orca are considered to be the apex predators.
    Thank you for pointing out that Orcas are apex predators; however, most of the animals mentioned in this thread are also considered apex predators including the fastest, the biggest brain, the most gigantic, and the most venomous. The issue is to determine which one of these apex predators, the primary contenders, is the overall top oceanic predator.

    Incidentally Orcas are one of the more matriarchal species as the males only live about half as long as the females - imagine what our society would be like if the men only lived to 35 and the women lived to 70.

    If you think Orcas are the topmost pelagic predator then you need to make a case for it against all the other contenders.

    For example the Cachalot (Sperm Whale), the fully grown males in particular, are not typically cited as prey for Orcas. It might be that the Cachalot with the biggest brain is able to outthink the Orca which only has the second biggest brain, and then use its 40,000 kilogram weight advantage and the largest set of teeth on the planet to bully the 6,000 kilogram Orca around. Moreover it has a collapsable rib cage and specialised tissues to cope with the enormous pressure it is put under when diving which allows it to dive much deeper than Orcas creating a relatively easy means of escape for the Cachalot.

    The Cachalot is a more patriarchal species with males living to 70 and females living substantially less.
    Last edited by Witis; Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:16 AM.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witis View Post
    The issue is to determine which one of these apex predators, the primary contenders, is the overall top oceanic predator.
    They are all top predators. Apex predators are simply predators that are never prey, ie they have no predators themselves.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    They are all top predators. Apex predators are simply predators that are never prey, ie they have no predators themselves.
    It is clear that Man is the topmost organic predator on the planet, and this thread is focused on determining the topmost oceanic predator, not simply naming those species that strong contenders or regional champions.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    For instance, the reason that wolves eat elk is because elk are disorganized.
    Really?! From what I've heard they're extremely organised. They form their own lodges and do alot of great work for charity.

    This thread should have had a poll lol.
    So that would be a fishing poll...

    The Mako shark by design is the most intimidating creature in the ocean
    Sooooo, the conclusion you reached was... the conclusion you started with. You canvassed opinion for an entire thread with the sole purpose of dissregarding any and all opinion you recieved. You created a false premise on which any contradictory opinion could be immediately eliminated. You disregarded any factor that would not play into your pre-ordained conclusion and were entirely selective about which factor you would apply when. You failed even to provide a definition as to terms of your discussion.

    Might I suggest that, should you ever want to work in the field of science, the tobacco, fast food and oil industries are all eagerly recruiting anyone with your particular skill set.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Sooooo, the conclusion you reached was... the conclusion you started with.
    Not quite, I started by noticing the speed of the billfish and that the typically understated speed of the Mako might make it an Orca predator. I was not certain if any of these creatures was going to be the top pelagic predator or even if these introductory observations would be substantiated after a more thorough examination. Moreover Niya was able to spot the Mako's weakness in being rolled on its back to induce tonic immobility and I was able to, via a reputable source, identify the mammalian dental weakness. These additional points were then factored into the determination.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    You canvassed opinion for an entire thread with the sole purpose of dissregarding any and all opinion you recieved.
    It sounds like you still believe that your favourite old Bluey still has a chance and that I have purposely disregarded her obvious supreme dominance of the oceans.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    You created a false premise on which any contradictory opinion could be immediately eliminated. You disregarded any factor that would not play into your pre-ordained conclusion and were entirely selective about which factor you would apply when. You failed even to provide a definition as to terms of your discussion.
    I had no preordained conclusion, I was merely surprised by the video that I watched which made me realise that I had underestimated the sharks and billfish for many years and wanted to know if there were any other creatures in the same category. Moreover I provided the goal and the method which was to determine the top oceanic predator by collecting all of the primary contenders and then working out "all the strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner" by getting "as much key information as is currently available from science and then apply logic".

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Might I suggest that, should you ever want to work in the field of science, the tobacco, fast food and oil industries are all eagerly recruiting anyone with your particular skill set.
    If you think you can do better be my guest, topple the Mako shark by dazzling me with your scientific prowess.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Not quite, I started by noticing the speed of the billfish and that the typically understated speed of the Mako might make it an Orca predator. I was not certain if any of these creatures was going to be the top pelagic predator or even if these introductory observations would be substantiated after a more thorough examination.
    Really, go back and read your first post again. Sure you peppered it with occasional "If"s and "It might be that"s but your preference even then was pretty naked. You didn't aprach this problem seeking examination, you aproached it seeking affirmation.

    It sounds like you still believe that your favourite old Bluey still has a chance
    Not really. I brough up the Blue Whale initially to highlight the lack specification as to the problem you were trying to solve. You've never defined what you meant by "top predator" so I gave you an example of a creature that could claim that title according to a fairly esoteric definition. Shaggy did the same when he mentioned disease and ahmedkhairy did the same with global warming. All of these are valid answers to your stated question, just looking at the problem from a different view point. You didn't seem to be picking up on that subtlety so evetually we started to lay the issue out bare: you hadn't defined the terms of the question were asking... you still haven't . In fact the only specific definition for "Top Predator" you seem to have been following is "Mako Shark" (which is quite close to Baja's definition ).

    Moreover I provided the goal and the method
    You provided neither. To provide the goal you would have had to define "Top Predator" and to provide the method you would have had to define which factors you were willing to consider as relevent. It certainly wasn't "all" factors as you've happily dismissed intelligence, enviroment or, indeed, whether these creates predate each other at all.

    I'm sorry but the conclusion you were going to reach was pretty much determined by your first post. Your responses to the feedback you've been given have simply represented an ever increasing certainty of that outcome.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Really?! From what I've heard they're extremely organised. They form their own lodges and do alot of great work for charity.
    True, I forgot about that. However, when they do form lodges, they tend to engage in heavy drinking, which makes them less able to avoid predators. Those were good answers, though.

    I agree with FD: You were even shown examples of Orcas feeding on makos, including explanations of how it was done, yet you bizarrely rejected that in favor of the species that you clearly favored right from the start. Meanwhile, everybody else was saying that there wasn't a single top predator, yet you rejected that, as well. That's a particularly nasty mistake, too. There has been much mischief caused throughout history by people deciding a priori that the structure must be X, and coming up with arguments to force the data to conform with their pre-existing beliefs. The worst case was with race, where there were originally thought to be four races, but if you have an even number, then there can't be one at the top. Therefore, a fifth race was created so that there would be two chains leading to a single race on top. I'll leave it to you to guess which one was chosen as being the 'top' race.

    You are doing the same thing. You have decided that there must be a SINGLE top predator, and are desperately ignoring facts to make it so. You take the video evidence that Orcas prey on Makos and dismiss that because the teeth of the Orca aren't as suitable for eating sharks. You then go on to state how Makos must be preying on Orcas because they are capable of doing so. Therefore, you know that Orcas eat Makos, but you pretend that it doesn't happen, and you think that Makos must be eating Orcas, but you haven't shown that it happens. Frankly, both could easily be true. There doesn't have to be a single top predator in the ocean just as there isn't a single top predator on land. Furthermore, there could also be a keystone predator that is not the top predator, and I would suggest that a keystone predator is more important than a top predator anyways.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Really, go back and read your first post again. Sure you peppered it with occasional "If"s and "It might be that"s but your preference even then was pretty naked. You didn't aprach this problem seeking examination, you aproached it seeking affirmation.
    The reverse was actually the case, I have seen too many Hollywood movies such as Jaws I where the boat is called the Orca and Deep Blue Sea, Free Willy, etc to the point where the Hollywood movie studios had me believing that Orcas were the ultimate shark killing machine. However when I started looking at the science I started noticing that the Orcas were a lot weaker than their Hollywood image until they finally dropped out of contention all together. I blame the studios for putting lies first and science second.


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Not really. I brough up the Blue Whale initially to highlight the lack specification as to the problem you were trying to solve.
    Do you have anything that can best the Mako shark?


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    You've never defined what you meant by "top predator" so I gave you an example of a creature that could claim that title according to a fairly esoteric definition. Shaggy did the same when he mentioned disease and ahmedkhairy did the same with global warming. All of these are valid answers to your stated question, just looking at the problem from a different view point. You didn't seem to be picking up on that subtlety so evetually we started to lay the issue out bare: you hadn't defined the terms of the question were asking... you still haven't .
    The construct of top predator was unbounded specifically so that I dis not miss any potential candidates and those answers were considered. For example when Shaggy mentioned viruses I pointed out that "Man is currently the top organic based life form on this planet, even though Man can be struck down by viruses including Ebola and Aids or eaten by Lions and Great White sharks". Moreover when ahmedkhairy said "well besides the whales the global warming is the top predator" he did not nominate global warming as his top predator and I presumed he was not serious regarding global warming as it is predominantly caused by Man not an oceanic predator.


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    In fact the only specific definition for "Top Predator" you seem to have been following is "Mako Shark" (which is quite close to Baja's definition ).
    Not true, I was merely surprised when I noticed the science was pointing in the opposite direction to pop culture.


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    You provided neither. To provide the goal you would have had to define "Top Predator" and to provide the method you would have had to define which factors you were willing to consider as relevent. It certainly wasn't "all" factors as you've happily dismissed intelligence, enviroment or, indeed, whether these creates predate each other at all.
    I provided both the goal and the method, you seem to be complaining because I was unwilling to restrict the construct of top predator and potentially miss a contender.


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I'm sorry but the conclusion you were going to reach was pretty much determined by your first post. Your responses to the feedback you've been given have simply represented an ever increasing certainty of that outcome.
    Not true at all, the first post merely indicates that the top predator might be the Mako shark as the Mako might be an Orca predator, and that it might also be the sailfish. At that point in time I had not yet even considered the most intelligent, the most venomous, the most gigantic, etc. All of these other alternatives could have made it as the topmost oceanic predator; however, I did not find any evidence that they were.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    I agree with FD: You were even shown examples of Orcas feeding on makos, including explanations of how it was done, yet you bizarrely rejected that in favor of the species that you clearly favored right from the start.
    I would not say bizarrely is the word at all. I indicated that an ability to predate on another species does not automatically make it dominate the other. For example Great White sharks prey on humans and yet humans are higher up the food chain than Great Whites. What I needed to see was evidence that Orcas are designed to regularly predate on Mako sharks and I did not find any. Instead I found that the design of the Mako shark means that it is the perfect Orca killing machine not the other way around. The Mako has superior teeth, rows and rows of self replenishing razor sharp teeth, superior speed, and an ability to ambush from and escape to the deep and no constant requirement to make it to the surface to breath. The Orca is too slow, and bobs up and down near the surface like Mako food packets designed to be irresistible to the sharks, and has no where to escape from sharks with eletroreception. Where as the Mako's weakness was being rolled on its back, not much of a weakness, the primary Orca's weakness was that its teeth wear down to the gums if they eat too many sharks which means they are not designed as shark predators. Can a pack of Orcas kill a single Mako, either too young or disabled to evade the pod, sure, although that does not by itself make Orcas an authentic shark predator.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Meanwhile, everybody else was saying that there wasn't a single top predator, yet you rejected that, as well. That's a particularly nasty mistake, too.
    I explicated that as the sea is essentially full of predators, it is only natural to try and determine which is the top pelagic predator. In this case I was lucky that there was enough scientific information available for me to feel comfortable with my conclusion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    There has been much mischief caused throughout history by people deciding a priori that the structure must be X, and coming up with arguments to force the data to conform with their pre-existing beliefs.
    If I had any preexisting beliefs it was that Orcas were designed as shark killing machines due to Hollywood fantasy, it turns out I was wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    The worst case was with race, where there were originally thought to be four races, but if you have an even number, then there can't be one at the top. Therefore, a fifth race was created so that there would be two chains leading to a single race on top. I'll leave it to you to guess which one was chosen as being the 'top' race.
    I am not creating a new theoretical species, I am merely looking at the science to determine what the facts are.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You are doing the same thing. You have decided that there must be a SINGLE top predator, and are desperately ignoring facts to make it so.
    This thread is an attempt to determine the top oceanic predator. If there happened to be two equal top oceanic predators then I would have been very surprised no doubt; however, that is not what I found.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You take the video evidence that Orcas prey on Makos and dismiss that because the teeth of the Orca aren't as suitable for eating sharks.
    That is the evidence that I have presented.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You then go on to state how Makos must be preying on Orcas because they are capable of doing so.
    The very fact that Makos could be preying on Makos is a huge revelation compared to popular culture which presents them as fish finger to Orcas.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Therefore, you know that Orcas eat Makos, but you pretend that it doesn't happen, and you think that Makos must be eating Orcas, but you haven't shown that it happens.
    The more I looked into it the more I noticed the dominance of Makos over Orcas and the rest of the pelagic predators.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Frankly, both could easily be true. There doesn't have to be a single top predator in the ocean just as there isn't a single top predator on land.
    That's strange, most see Man as the top organic based predator on land.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Furthermore, there could also be a keystone predator that is not the top predator, and I would suggest that a keystone predator is more important than a top predator anyways.
    Do you have a keystone predator for me to look at?
    Last edited by Witis; Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:44 AM.
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  30. #70
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Makos would never dominate Orcas except under extreme circumstances like a Mako preying on a young, sickly or injured Orca. With all the facts gatherd in this thread, ask yourself seriously, if you throw all the contenders mentioned here in an aquatic arena on the brink of starvation, which do you think would own the gauntlet when driven to the primal extremes of ferocity by hunger ?
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    you seem to be complaining because I was unwilling to restrict the construct of top predator and potentially miss a contender
    Not restrict, define. Miss a contender for what? None of us know... still!

    There are a bunch of definitions for Top Predator I could think of straight off the top of my head:-
    1. Who would win in a fight in a fish tank?
    2. Who would win in a fight in deep water?
    3. Which is capable of predating the others as opposed to merely killing them?
    4. Which predates the highest diversity of prey?
    5. Which predates the greatest volume of prey?
    6. Which has had the greatest impact on it's eco-system?
    7. Which has the largest genitalia?

    Can you really not see that without some sort of context you're entire premise is worthless... because there actually is no premise? You haven't established it. You've said that the "science" points to the mako as the top predator but what you've engaged in here isn't science by any definition. It's a game of fishy top trumps. And the point about top trumps is that you win by picking the right criteria at the right time... which is exactly what you've done.
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  32. #72

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    Makos would never dominate Orcas except under extreme circumstances like a Mako preying on a young, sickly or injured Orca. With all the facts gatherd in this thread, ask yourself seriously, if you throw all the contenders mentioned here in an aquatic arena on the brink of starvation, which do you think would own the gauntlet when driven to the primal extremes of ferocity by hunger ?
    That is sort of the point. A couple of weeks ago I would probably have said Orcas for sure and if I was pressed for another alternative perhaps I would have suggested Moby Dick from Herman Melville's classic, sharks would probably have been my third guess. I realised this assessment came from popular culture which usually promotes Orcas as killer whales, the topmost predator in the ocean capable of killing everything else in the ocean with one flipper tied behind its back. Thinking about it my assumption was also based on the mistaken belief that mammals are dominant over all other forms of life on the planet purely due to Man's current dominance.

    However the more I looked at the facts the more I realised how much the sharks were being overlooked. Most people would probably imagine Orcas porpoising after the great white sharks prior in order to catch them and that they could easily escape the same way vie superior speed, however, I found a reputable source which indicates that Makos can swim much much faster than Orcas meaning that this view of the Orcas as killer whales is just not true. It might even turn out that Great White and Tiger sharks are also capable of swimming faster than Orcas making them natural born Orca predators.
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  33. #73

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Not restrict, define. Miss a contender for what? None of us know... still!

    There are a bunch of definitions for Top Predator I could think of straight off the top of my head:-
    1. Who would win in a fight in a fish tank?
    2. Who would win in a fight in deep water?
    3. Which is capable of predating the others as opposed to merely killing them?
    4. Which predates the highest diversity of prey?
    5. Which predates the greatest volume of prey?
    6. Which has had the greatest impact on it's eco-system?
    7. Which has the largest genitalia?

    Can you really not see that without some sort of context you're entire premise is worthless... because there actually is no premise? You haven't established it. You've said that the "science" points to the mako as the top predator but what you've engaged in here isn't science by any definition. It's a game of fishy top trumps. And the point about top trumps is that you win by picking the right criteria at the right time... which is exactly what you've done.
    All of those are potential ways of identifying oceanic predators, I know you like the last definition the most. Even so there is still no particular criteria such as the biggest brain, most intelligent, highest diversity of prey or volume of prey, largest mass, highest headcount, or any other restrictions. Although these types of factors are potentially important and can be useful for identifying the primary predators they are not useful for determining the topmost predator as this task necessitates a manual comparison to correctly weigh each finalist, their strengths and weaknesses, against all others to determine the ultimate topmost pelagic predator, the most dominant form of life in the sea.

    I think that you are probably still clinging to the view that as Man is the topmost organic life form on the planet, and Man is a mammal, it means that mammals dominate on planet Earth and by extension that a sea mammal, be it an Orca or a blue whale, must be the topmost oceanic predator and you do not want the facts to contradict your a priori conclusion.
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    we need a new category added to vbforums called animal planet.

    sorry couldn't refuse.. this is the most serious thread i've seen on chit-chat

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justa Lol View Post
    we need a new category added to vbforums called animal planet.

    sorry couldn't refuse.. this is the most serious thread i've seen on chit-chat

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  36. #76
    Noodly Appendage wossname's Avatar
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Sponge - the silent killer.

    Has evolved a symbiotic relationship with Exfoliatus scrubbia. Avoid. Widdling on the wound doesn't help as much as you'd hope it would.
    I don't live here any more.

  37. #77
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    I know you like the last definition the most
    Well you brought it up. I just found it amusing because I'm essentially a very juvenile man.

    I think that you are probably still clinging to the view that as Man is the topmost organic life form on the planet, and Man is a mammal, it means that mammals dominate on planet Earth and by extension that a sea mammal, be it an Orca or a blue whale, must be the topmost oceanic predator and you do not want the facts to contradict your a priori conclusion
    I have no such attachment and I'm really not sure why you think I have.

    Earlier I said that this was like a game of top trumps. Actually that was only half right. This is like a game of top trumps where you insist on choosing the attribute that will be played each time and insist on seeing your opponents card before you choose and insist on playing the Mako Shark card every time. It's self fulfilling because every time someone makes any suggestion for an alternative you simply dismiss it on the basis of whichever attribute the Mako Shark wins on.

    It could be the orca... no, the mako shark can dive deeper
    It could be the tuna... no, the mako shark can swim faster
    It could be the billfish... no, its sword won't work on the mako shark
    It could be a sea mammal... no, it's the mako's hide is too tough for it's teeth
    It could be the blue whale... no, it's enormous phallus creates too much drag and slows it down

    OK, I threw that last one in for a giggle (I did say I was juvenile).

    The most revealing part of all of this is your continued insistence that man is the top predator on the planet while maintaining that the one edge that put man in that position, namely his intelligence, is irrelevant as a predating strategy.
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  38. #78

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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    Quote Originally Posted by wossname View Post
    Sponge - the silent killer.

    Has evolved a symbiotic relationship with Exfoliatus scrubbia. Avoid. Widdling on the wound doesn't help as much as you'd hope it would.
    Carnivorous sponges: from wiki "A few species that live in waters where the supply of food particles is very poor prey on crustaceans and other small animals." "In most cases little is known about how they actually capture prey, although some species are thought to use either sticky threads or hooked spicules".

    Also read something about sponges being one of the longest living creatures in the ocean although the source was not top notch.

    Also used by female dolphins when sponging which is where "A dolphin will attach a marine sponge to its rostrum, which is presumably then used to protect it when searching for food in the sandy sea bottom." - wiki

    Flipper?
    Last edited by Witis; Aug 15th, 2012 at 05:50 AM.
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  39. #79
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    I have to agree with the others Witis.

    Basically you are gaming the debate be deciding what feature you care about the most when comparing with each creature.

    Also with no reference as to what in your opinion constitutes a top predator, how can you compare?

    It a bit like saying who was the best athlete in the world at the recent Olympics?

    well do you mean the Fastest over a short distance or long, or the one who can throw the furthest or jump the highest? etc.


    But just to put a spanner in the works what about the Colossal squid? i bet the Mako shark wouldn't fancy a tussle with one of them!

    Also What about the Stone Fish?

    both highly different from a Mako Shark but doesn't make them any less dangerous.

    For instance lets see a Mako Shark try and Eat a stone fish
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    Re: What is the top predator in the ocean besides man?

    But just to put a spanner in the works what about the Colossal squid? i bet the Mako shark wouldn't fancy a tussle with one of them!
    Nah, Calimari tastes good, making the squid natural prey for a mako shark
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