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Seeing humans as superpredators

Many hunting and fishing habits may be unsustainable for prey species, report warns

2:00pm, August 20, 2015

SUPERPREDATORS  Analyzing humans as just another predator finds a unique hunting (and fishing) pattern.

To get a glimpse of a superpredator, just look in the mirror. Comparing hunting habits of mammals and fishes reveals humans as Earth’s most dangerous, oddball predator — one that targets adult prey in large numbers, a practice that can push populations into decline.

Humans’ main prey are reproductive adults, the animals that replenish populations, explains conservation scientist Chris Darimont of the University of Victoria in Canada. He and his colleagues call for people to switch to the hunting patterns of other predatory mammals or fishes. Such a change would entail targeting the young instead of the adults and taking smaller percentages, the scientists say in the Aug. 21 Science.

A shift toward the young would be more sustainable, “consuming the reproductive interest rather than the reproductive capital,” says study coauthor Thomas Reimchen, also at

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