December 11, 2008

...
The difference between tigers and lions

The collective noun for lions is the pride. A pride of lions may number up to three dozen males, females, and cubs. The pride lives together, hunts together, sleeps together travels together, and breeds together.

There is no collective noun for tigers. Some have suggested we use the term "streak", others "ambush", but the fact remains that there is no generally accepted collective noun for tigers. Ask Webster if you don't believe me.

Tigers are solitary animals and do not collect in groups except in very rare circumstances, thus there is no real need for a collective noun. You may find a male and female together at breeding time, or a female with cubs, but otherwise, the tiger lives and hunts alone.

Now lions and tigers are natural enemies. Lions once ranged as far north and east as Syria, but now live almost exclusively in regions of Africa. Male lions may grow to be around eight feet long and may weigh up to 500 pounds. Tigers are generally Asian animals that may grow to 10 feet and weigh up to 650 pounds. It would appear that the tiger has the upper hand in a fight, wouldn't it?

Maybe not. If we were to take a pride consisting of a dozen lions, place them in a cage with a similar number of tigers, the likely result would be Nine or ten lions in a cage with a dozen dead tigers.

Why? Because each tiger, due to the nature of tigers, would mostly sit impassively and watch as the lions collectively attacked and killed the others one at a time. If a tiger attempted to attack a lion, the pride would turn in mass to defend their pride-mate.

Tigers have no natural compulsion to band together, even if the result is extinction.

The moral behavior displayed by humans is reflected by our caring for others, much as our lions protect each other for the survival of the pride. When individuals care about one another and attempt to insure the welfare of their fellows as each cares for oneself, it becomes reciprocal. Life becomes safer and easier for all. Any society that strives for such a standard has a better survival chance than individuals behaving as our hypothetical tigers.

Perhaps this is the root of the theistic golden rule, or perhaps it is the morality expressed in the humanistic creed "Act in a way that causes the least harm".

The result is the same regardless of one's philosophy.

...

6 Comments:

Rogue Medic said...

Some humans emulate tigers, some lions, and some can't make up their minds.

A crusty old phart... said...

And some emulate hyenas...

Rogue Medic said...

Let's not pick on the comedians.

OK, maybe you weren't referring the the laughing hyena metaphor, but to the mortgage banker hyena metaphor (and if they don't have one yet, . . . ).

jeg43 said...

Several species come to mind when thinking about mutual protection - when comparing such with humans, baboons may be more appropriate.

J.R.Shirley said...

I understand you're making a point, but it's difficult to believe a tiger would sit passively in a cage while another species attacked next to it.

Mule Breath... said...

You probably wouldn't be able to keep the lions off of each other if it were tested.

But yes, I was making a point.