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Stargazer

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PostSubject: Wolf pack dynamics   Wed May 20, 2015 5:01 am

As requested by Manga...

As I previously mentioned in another thread, understanding of how a wolf pack operates has changed a lot over the years. Old 'knowledge' of wolf hierarchy came from observing captive wolves, who mostly live in unnatural packs for reasons that will become obvious as I explain. This gave a very skewed understanding of wolf pack behaviour.

From studies of packs in the wild, it is now understood that a wolf 'pack' is actually a wolf family. The alphas are actually Mum and Dad, with a bunch of immature offspring up to about age three, plus maybe some daughters that stick around to strengthen the pack and help raise the cubs. Mature sons usually leave the pack. The alphas lead because they are actually the group's parents. The offspring juggle for dominance among themselves, and may occasionally challenge their parents. Sometimes this might the equivalent of a teenage blowout, a "you can't tell me what to do, Dad..." or maybe the parents are getting old. Most challenges are just bluster and posturing, although occasionally there might be a nasty one.

In captivity there are both mature male as well as female offspring in the pack, because they never leave - which leads to more challenges because these are wolves who should be off leading families of their own. The Wolfrider pack follows this old idea, with a mixture of mature males and females.
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manga

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PostSubject: Re: Wolf pack dynamics   Wed May 20, 2015 1:10 pm

Thank you, Stargazer.

Maybe Wendy's wolves act more like captive packs because they're partially domesticated? The elves haven't tried to tame them but they have elf blood and have been around the elves for so long, I'd be surprised if there wasn't some effect.
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kathleen3.0

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PostSubject: Re: Wolf pack dynamics   Wed May 20, 2015 1:46 pm

Possibly? But I'd think that the effect would be more of a gentling one than the other.

For example, in book 2, Nightrunner has supposedly been kicked out of the pack. Wolves do occasionally drive other wolves off, yes, but not like that. Briersting is much more likely to look at Silvergrace and Nightrunner, and say, "Screw you, mom and dad, I'm moving out."

Then he and his girlfriend of choice settle into a one bedroom cave on the other side of the Sun Village. Silvergrace tries to keep in touch, but things are strained. Only Nightrunner's heart attack reminds Briersting and him of how wonderful life used to be. They have a last fishing trip together.

Okay, not really. But yeah, most "battles for dominance" are closer to family squabbles.

The fact is that we didn't really know most of this until the eighties, which was when the first real studies of wolf packs in the wild began. Starjumper's death, for example, is a much more realistic version of a wolf killing another wolf, because two different packs in the same area will battle it out, and sometimes to the death. So Wendy and Richard aren't really to blame for this, they were working off the best information available, and their portrayals of wolves have been much more true to life since.
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Leanan

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PostSubject: Re: Wolf pack dynamics   Wed May 20, 2015 2:41 pm

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
Then he and his girlfriend of choice settle into a one bedroom cave on the other side of the Sun Village. Silvergrace tries to keep in touch, but things are strained. Only Nightrunner's heart attack reminds Briersting and him of how wonderful life used to be. They have a last fishing trip together.

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