Why tigers have stripes

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by spuriousmonkey, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Let us be honest. You always wanted to know why!

    why tigers have stripes

    ps. the link is probably served with a cookie.
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  3. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    I honestly don't think thats the case.
    For a few reasons.
    Tigers are virtually odourless, this has been their answer to the heightened sense of smell their prey has.
    Tigers that actually are favoured by tigresses are not the thinner individuals but rather the thicker individuals.
    In truth sexual selection in tigers plays a minimal role in their breeding, female tigers in estrus aren't likely to turn down a male that finds them, if they do turn them down it will be because they are too young or a stronger male is in the area, ie, more solidly built.
    I see no reason to think female tigers would prefer thinner males.
    I think the species would sooner become thinner if this was the case.
    Tiger stripes are not so much a camoflage from their ungulate prey but rather from the monkeys that will give an alarm call when they see them, this alarm call is well known to the deer and guar the tiger hunts.
    I know what you mean about the tigers prey having a better sense of smell than sight, but their sense of hearing is just as refined. And they rely on other creatures to alert them to the tigers presence.

    The reason the lion is wider is because its breeding behaviour has made it this way.
    The broadness of the lion is not the feline norm that the tiger strayed from, it is the other way around.
    For some time lion evolution has revolved around fighting prowess.
    Which puts a different demand on the individual than being a stealthy hunter.
    The lion has made many adaptions specifically for this reason, the famous mane for example is purely a shield to assist it in fighting other lions.
    But it has also made other adaptions, a broader chest being one of those. It has deeply sprung ribs to allow for larger lungs which assist it in combat. Cat stamina is inherently not fantastic, lions have evolved to get as much stamina for fighting as possible. And it has made them appear "fatter" because they have become wider.
    The great difference in male and female lions is because each sex has very different demands. A male lions hunting ability is not important, in fact its mane is actually a hinderence when it comes to hunting, the animals on the savahnah can spot it a mile away and this can actually be easily noticed when one observes a male lion attempting to join in the hunt.
    The females tend to move away from him when they are hunting and he tries to follow them.
    His sole purpose is aquiring a pride and holding it down long enough to raise his offspring into subadulthood.
    This is alot more difficult than it sounds as even after he takes over a pride he will be constantly challenged by other males left out of the equation. If they defeat him they will kill his babies.
    The only lions that ever reach adulthood must have had a father that could fight and fight well consistently, any adult lion you see must have had a father that proved himself in the fighting department many times over.
    This is the reason for the differences seen between lions and tigers. Obviously environment plays a role also but more so the fact that lions evolved this unique social structure which had its own demands on the species, sending their evolution in a particular way not so much focussed on pure survival.
    Comparitively the tigers evolution is still focussed mostly on survival. As I said sexual selection is minimal, a female tiger is just happy to see a male.
    I'm pretty sure the tigers stripes are purely to assist in survival for the individual.
    A striped tiger is undeniably very well camoflaged in its environment.

    There may be some truth in your theory but I personally don't really see it.
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  5. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    That's ok Dr Lou,

    these lectures are not serious.

    But at least we now found some interesting stuff out about lions and tigers.

    edit: could I use your reply as a response and put it up on the website? Signed by Dr Lou natic himself?
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2004
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  7. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    Also vertical stripes make people look thin not cats. Vertical stripes down a cats side would make it look shorter but not thinner. Horizontal stripes on a cats side would make it look longer. I think a cat with horizontal stripes would look cool eh?!
  8. Rappaccini Redoubtable Registered Senior Member

    I think the vertical stripes would make it look taller, not shorter.
  9. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    By making it look taller, it would simultaneously make it look shorter. All dimensions 'appear' to change from our point of view.

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