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Crying Wolf (Life Sciences)
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Mick Harper
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We argued in Megalithic Empire that the weasel is a domesticated stoat gone feral. We use the 'world record clause' to help identify forgeries and domesticates are, in a sense, forged versions of wild animals, so it was gratifying to hear that weasels hold two world records: they are the smallest carnivores in the world and they have the most powerful bite, pound for pound, in the world. Of course, strictly, these aren't wholly different world records because small size presumably requires big bite but, on the other hand, this is not the usual pattern since small size would normally just mean small prey.

Which leads on to the next question: why don't stoats prey on weasels? The recent doc on the two animals Weasels: Feisty and Fearless (Natural World BBC2) showed the two species living in close proximity and since they seem to lead the same general lifestyle why on earth are the stoats putting up with the weasels? Why, for that matter, aren't adult weasels preying on baby stoats? It's all very reminiscent of siblings in the nursery. Somehow they have developed a built-in tolerance for one another.
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Mick Harper
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A correspondent tells me that in fact stoats do predate on weasels, even systematically, but don't seem to make a big thing about it. Nor do weasels, it seems, have much difficulty in keeping out of the way. Oddly it can be the stoats that relocate. It's all very well being bigger mano a mano but not if the other team are breeding like rabbits, which weasels do. Stoats only once a year. On the other hand it is stoats that have delayed implantation which (I seem to remember) is the domesticate marker. Although I also seem to remember that delayed implantation is something that can be exploited by human domesticators. Anyone remember anything about this?

Still, it can all be read as perfectly natural. Boo-hoo.
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