Calling the results “tantalizing,” biologist Gus Mills of South Africa’s Tony and Lisette Lewis Foundation, which funds nature conservation, appeals for longer-term studies. “Large carnivores are long-lived and reproduce quite slowly. Getting large samples over extended periods is very difficult and so is interpretation of results.”
Wagner agrees and argues that research has been too skewed toward species with well-developed social behavior, such as lions or spotted hyenas. “Up to 90 percent of carnivores are, like striped hyenas, behaviorally solitary. We must learn more about the solitary majority before claiming we know why and how groups form and how sociality evolved.”
This article was originally published with the title Relative Distance.