Group living and animal nutrition

A popular programme on TV is nature films showing lions, cheetahs , whales and sharks killing their food. Very dramatic and for some beats going round Tesco to buy the weeks food.
The assumption has always been that the predators gain by hunting in packs by being able to tackle larger prey.
The truth may not be a simple as this. Animal s hunting on their own in the short term eat better. Group living influences individual food intake rates and the dynamics of the populations of predators and their prey. The grouping of prey and predators reduces the amount that each individual predator eats. The group allows a larger area to be swept looking for prey, and allows the area to be defended from interloper groups.
What parallels this has in human nutrition I cannot immediately say, but eating together rather than on ones own can only be better.
Fryxell et al (2007) Nature vol 449, 1041-1043
Coulson (2007 ) Group living and hungry lions Nature vol 449 996-7

Martin Eastwood
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