Lions Defend Turf Like Gangstas
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 30, 2009 4:20 AM CDT
The real gangstas: the lionesses in a pride.   (©Traveller07)
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(Newser) – Lion prides display the behavior of human gangs not to hunt more efficiently, but to defend their turf, researchers have discovered. The larger the prides, the more successfully lions keep out interlopers, reports the BBC. Scientists have long been stumped by why lions are singularly sociable among cats and what purpose prides serve. Experts theorized prides improved hunting, but no link has been found between number of hunters and efficient hunting.

Researchers have now discovered that successful defense of a large territory improves mortality rates and reproductive success of females. "The most important way to think about this is that lion prides are like street gangs," said one of the researchers. "They compete for turf. The main difference from humans is that these are gangs of female lions."