A surprising find has emerged regarding the number of predators in comparison with the prey population.
Researchers have discovered a new law of nature that seems to contradict common sense. Large-sized predators have numbers that remain pretty much the same despite the shortage or increase in prey species.
This weird law is a constant whether in the sea, on land or in the air. And it is strange but as they say, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Even though many times on the African savannah, zebra populations get out of control. Yet the lion populations remain the same which seems to have been a mystery that is until now.
In fact, this paradoxical law holds sway for both large creatures and smaller ones such as zooplankton in the sea. While prey is available in large amounts, predators are still limited in their numbers.
Since the past half century or so, the study has been extant and now the evidence is conclusive. It seems that predator populations are constant due to the ability of prey to make copies of themselves.
When it became crowded, the prey populations reproduced much less than they would have otherwise done. This automatically keeps the prey populations within their limits due to fewer offspring.
Up until now the theory was that the more the availability of the prey the more the predators will flourish too. But the latest evidence suggests that no matter what the prey population may be, the predators remain constant.
This counts even in the most fertile populations. There are fewer predators in resource rich ecosystems than in resource poor ones. This goes naturally and is a sort of balance kept by nature.
The shocking new law of nature has everyone from scientists to laymen flabbergasted. How is it even possible when it goes against the very grain of reason? But such are Mother Nature’s ways that she doesn’t do anything wasteful.
Everything influences everything else and the least feeds upon the first in the end. The moment there is more prey, the predators seem to relax their hackles. And as far as us human beings are concerned, we are the most dangerous animals on earth.
The power law remains intact. Some may think that with the doubling of prey, a concomitant doubling of predators would take place. But such is not the case at all. The law has become a mathematical one.
That is why most lions tend to prey on either the very old or the very young zebra. This leaves the healthy adults to reproduce more of their kind for the lions later on.
The study published this week in the Science magazine.