The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-18-2010, 12:35 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Wolves Attacking People?

What is the "Straight Dope" on wolf attacks? Do they attack, kill, and eat people with any degree of regularity?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 02-18-2010, 12:58 PM
Valgard Valgard is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,318
When I was in Yellowstone the other year we learned that wolf attacks on people in the US are pretty rare. Seeing them way off in the distance through spotting scopes was a real treat.

I have read that centuries ago wolf attacks on people in Europe were more common (Cecil wrote a column about it). Depending on where you live in the world these days wolf attacks are more common than they are in the US, however overall wolf attacks on humans are unusual. I had a professor who helped design the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, he mentioned that as far as he knew the only attacks in Alaska were by individual rabid wolves, not packs hunting people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf#Attacks_on_humans

They don't attack/kill/eat humans with any "degree of regularity" but they are not domesticated animals so the best way to observe them is quietly, from a distance.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-18-2010, 01:13 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
This site is clearly friendly towards wolves which may make their number suspect but they cite a study so seems pretty good:

Quote:
Researchers from many countries made a lengthy and exhaustive search for records of people killed by wolves (Linnell et al 2002). They found only 17 fatalities in the last 50 years in the whole of Europe, Russia and North America - a population of 1,000,000,000 people.

SOURCE: http://www.wolftrust.org.uk/aboutwolves.html
Deaths from wild animal attacks in the US are overall quite rare (just saw a site that said 177 per year, including venomous animals, on average but lost it). Considering a population of around 350,000,000 that statistically barely registers. Wolves of course would only be a fraction of that.

So, on the whole, you have to be very unlucky to get killed by wolves. You are probably statistically more likely to get hit by lightning.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 02-18-2010 at 01:17 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-18-2010, 04:40 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
I recall once seeing a picture of some famous painting - Russia, I think - where the one-horse open sleigh is dashing through the snow, being pursued by a pack of wolves and someone (the mother) is throwing a baby off the back to slow down the pack so they can get away. Something about the harshness of life and the decisions that have to be made, or something - or was it a famous Russian folk tale, or something?

Anyone know this reference?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-18-2010, 05:16 PM
old_joe old_joe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by gytalf2000 View Post
What is the "Straight Dope" on wolf attacks? Do they attack, kill, and eat people with any degree of regularity?
In alberta at least they dont. I saw wolves and tracks all the time when I was in the bush. Alone so I would think that several wolves could have had thier way with me if they wanted. I did have some follow me though, especially when my dog was in season. Then they would get close enough pitch a rock at.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-18-2010, 06:23 PM
Powder Blue Powder Blue is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21
Wolf attacks were relatively common in pre-industrialization Europe, at least before most of the wolves there were exterminated. I'm not sure of the historical frequency of attacks in North America.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-18-2010, 07:53 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 28,765
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder Blue View Post
Wolf attacks were relatively common in pre-industrialization Europe, at least before most of the wolves there were exterminated. I'm not sure of the historical frequency of attacks in North America.
Extremely rare.
__________________
.
"He is an abomination of science that curdles the milk of all honest men!"~~One Dr Chouteh, possibly commenting on Bosda Di'Chi.Or not.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:37 PM
Sleel Sleel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
There's a list of known fatal wolf attacks on Wikipedia, with sources for most. Included in the list is the first documented fatal North American attack.

For contrast, there were 33 fatalities in 2007 alone from dog attacks, and an average of 4.7 million bite victims annually.

Predators like bears, wolves, and mountain lions get all the attention, but North American bison have more recorded attacks than bears in Yellowstone National Park (56 vs. 12 for bears). Similarly, "cute" hippopotamuses are far more dangerous than lions.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:46 PM
SoulFrost SoulFrost is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Nomadic
Posts: 1,634
My mom goes to Yellowstone for four or five months every year. She's seen or heard first-hand accounts of many of the bison attacks. It usually starts the same way--"She just wanted to get a picture of her and the 'buffalo'...."

They're wild animals. Don't pose with them.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:53 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
There's the urban legend about the moron who wanted a picture of the cute little bear licking his little girl's hands. He coated them with honey and then stepped back to get a good picture of the bear eating her hands off.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:58 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
I recall once seeing a picture of some famous painting - Russia, I think - where the one-horse open sleigh is dashing through the snow, being pursued by a pack of wolves and someone (the mother) is throwing a baby off the back to slow down the pack so they can get away. Something about the harshness of life and the decisions that have to be made, or something - or was it a famous Russian folk tale, or something?
Wasn't that last years season finale of the TV show Amazing Race?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-18-2010, 09:01 PM
Superfluous Parentheses Superfluous Parentheses is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
I recall once seeing a picture of some famous painting - Russia, I think - where the one-horse open sleigh is dashing through the snow, being pursued by a pack of wolves and someone (the mother) is throwing a baby off the back to slow down the pack so they can get away. Something about the harshness of life and the decisions that have to be made, or something - or was it a famous Russian folk tale, or something?

Anyone know this reference?
Don't know the original reference, but there is a song by the relatively well known Dutch singer Drs P. (link in Dutch) concerning throwing people - including babies - off the Troika to slow down the wolves. I'm sure he wasn't the first to come up with the idea; I seem to remember kindergarten rhymes referencing the same trope.

ETA: Hilarious (dutch) song by Drs P

Last edited by Superfluous Parentheses; 02-18-2010 at 09:03 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-18-2010, 09:08 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel View Post
There's a list of known fatal wolf attacks on Wikipedia, with sources for most. Included in the list is the first documented fatal North American attack.

For contrast, there were 33 fatalities in 2007 alone from dog attacks, and an average of 4.7 million bite victims annually.
That's not really a contrast when you consider there are vastly more dogs alive now than there ever were wolves, and they are in MUCH closer contact with humans. Also, 33 fatalities is something of a high; in 2008, the number was 23, and over the last forty years or so it's averaged something around 17 dog-caused fatalities per year.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-18-2010, 09:18 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel View Post
There's a list of known fatal wolf attacks on Wikipedia, with sources for most. Included in the list is the first documented fatal North American attack.
You mean the attack in 1770? Because that's the first one. And the list shows far more than one documented fatal North American attack, in fact it seems to show one every couple of years.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-18-2010, 10:37 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Heaven forbid wolves loose their fear of man!
We need to keep it secret that the wolf is 100 X better than we are in hunting.
36 years ago (just out of the service) I was within 10 yard of a timber wolf with a loaded rifle and I knew it was there. I was cocked and ready. He (it) kept a large tamarack tree between us as I slowly moved by then furrowed the snow with his brisket as he snuck across the fire break I was on, then one leap & he was in the thick spruce.
Had he wanted me, there was no contest.
The rifle put the fear in wolves IMHO!
I have been very close to 4 other wolves over the past 30 years

Three collared wolves were killed last fall in MN. That, although illegal, helps man, keep the fear factor up where it belongs. Hope they keep there mouths shut!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-18-2010, 10:53 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
I've heard in the past that European wolves are much more willing to attack humans than American wolves. The theory I've heard given as to why is that European wolves co-evolved with humans and had time to adapt; they first encountered humans ( our ancestors, rather ) when they were stupid, unskilled and poorly armed if at all. North American wolves however first encountered humans when they were already sophisticated, well armed hunters and simply weren't up to the challenge; the capability gap was too big. Evolution doesn't work for improving their preying-upon-humans instincts if ALL the wolves which go up against humans die. They just evolved an aversion to humans instead, since the wolves that left humans along lived to breed.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-18-2010, 10:55 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
I've heard in the past that European wolves are much more willing to attack humans than American wolves. The theory I've heard given as to why is that European wolves co-evolved with humans and had time to adapt; they first encountered humans ( our ancestors, rather ) when they were stupid, unskilled and poorly armed if at all. North American wolves however first encountered humans when they were already sophisticated, well armed hunters and simply weren't up to the challenge; the capability gap was too big. Evolution doesn't work for improving their preying-upon-humans instincts if ALL the wolves which go up against humans die. They just evolved an aversion to humans instead, since the wolves that left humans along lived to breed.
Well said DER...
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-18-2010, 11:08 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
I've heard in the past that European wolves are much more willing to attack humans than American wolves. The theory I've heard given as to why is that European wolves co-evolved with humans and had time to adapt; they first encountered humans ( our ancestors, rather ) when they were stupid, unskilled and poorly armed if at all. North American wolves however first encountered humans when they were already sophisticated, well armed hunters and simply weren't up to the challenge; the capability gap was too big. Evolution doesn't work for improving their preying-upon-humans instincts if ALL the wolves which go up against humans die. They just evolved an aversion to humans instead, since the wolves that left humans along lived to breed.
Interestiing, but there seems to be a simpler explanation. Americans lacked grazing animals. As a result there was an abundance of game reserves and prey that could be taken without bringing wolves into conflict with man. As a result American wolves had little need to prey on humans.

Once Europeans introduced domestic animals into their range the wolves were rapidly exterminated, so the opportunities for attack were minimal and short lived and could only have occurred at a time when wolves were being seriously persecuted and thus unlikely to be overpopulated and starving.

That's not to say that American wolves aren't genetically more timid, just that there are other factors that would seem more significant. Basically, wolves are going to be most prone to attacking people when they are in high densities, in prolonged contact with humans and are starving through lack of alternative game. Those conditions never really existed in the Americas, outside of perhaps northern Canada, until the twentieth century. Prior to that there was either abundant alternative game, or the wolves were so heavily hunted as to reduce their numbers well below starvation level.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 02-18-2010, 11:49 PM
SteveG1 SteveG1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
I've heard in the past that European wolves are much more willing to attack humans than American wolves. The theory I've heard given as to why is that European wolves co-evolved with humans and had time to adapt; they first encountered humans ( our ancestors, rather ) when they were stupid, unskilled and poorly armed if at all. North American wolves however first encountered humans when they were already sophisticated, well armed hunters and simply weren't up to the challenge; the capability gap was too big. Evolution doesn't work for improving their preying-upon-humans instincts if ALL the wolves which go up against humans die. They just evolved an aversion to humans instead, since the wolves that left humans along lived to breed.
It's possible too (wild guess on my part) that it was simply a matter of proximity and familiarity. European wolves may have simply lost their fear. Along similar lines, humans and wolves may have been competing for the same food and territory. Something had to give.

These are just guesses, with absolutely no data to back them up, so take it for what it's worth.

Personally, I'd be more worried about a bear than a wolf even though either one would kick my skinny butt.

Last edited by SteveG1; 02-18-2010 at 11:51 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 02-19-2010, 01:26 AM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
I've heard in the past that European wolves are much more willing to attack humans than American wolves. The theory I've heard given as to why is that European wolves co-evolved with humans and had time to adapt; they first encountered humans ( our ancestors, rather ) when they were stupid, unskilled and poorly armed if at all.
Interesting. But you'd think the 100,000 or so years during which humans have in fact been dangerous would be enough for the European wolves to evolve considerable aversion.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 02-19-2010, 05:06 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Interesting. But you'd think the 100,000 or so years during which humans have in fact been dangerous would be enough for the European wolves to evolve considerable aversion.
The point of the hypothesis is, that they developed the right instincts to be able to handle humans, to some degree. To know when to sneak up on us, when to avoid us, and when we were vulnerable. Until firearms came along that is.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-19-2010, 06:40 AM
Floater Floater is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
The last time a person was killed by a wolf in Sweden was some 200 years ago and the wolf had been raised by humans and lost its natural shyness.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 02-19-2010, 01:47 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Hey, thanks for all the information!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 02-19-2010, 02:10 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder Blue View Post
Wolf attacks were relatively common in pre-industrialization Europe...
I suspect most of this was entirely based on suspicion and folklore and not actual events.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 02-19-2010, 03:03 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 49,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
...Anyone know this reference?
Willa Cather told a similar story in her 1918 novel My Antonia. In the book, two Russian brothers very sadly tell the story of a wedding held in one town in the dead of winter in the late 1800s; the bridal party gets in sleighs to go to the next town over for the feast. Wolves attack them and the party is picked off, or thrown out to divert the wolves, one by one, incl. the bride. Not pretty.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 02-19-2010, 08:50 PM
Sleel Sleel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
That's not really a contrast when you consider there are vastly more dogs alive now than there ever were wolves, and they are in MUCH closer contact with humans. Also, 33 fatalities is something of a high; in 2008, the number was 23, and over the last forty years or so it's averaged something around 17 dog-caused fatalities per year.
For contrast in how likely it is for an average person to be attacked. Theoretical circumstances have nothing to do with the actual incidence. The fact of the matter is that dogs are more likely to be a danger to people than wolves. Yes, sometime in the future, if wolf numbers are high enough or more people suddenly start to come into close contact with wolves, I would expect there to be a problem. But in the real world, right now, you're far more likely to be killed by a dog than to even encounter a wolf, much less be attacked by one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
You mean the attack in 1770? Because that's the first one. And the list shows far more than one documented fatal North American attack, in fact it seems to show one every couple of years.
If you want to be nitpicky, then I'll be more exact with the wording. What I've read is that there has not been a documented fatal attack on an human by a healthy wolf in the wild that has not been raised by humans or otherwise habituated to close contact with people, documented reliably with physical evidence, in the last 100 years. I'm sure if you look hard enough you might find something I haven't heard of, but those are the facts to the best of my knowledge.

Eyewitness accounts are far less compelling to me than physical evidence. I'll concede that there are some "documented" earlier attacks in that list if you allow circumstantial evidence or eyewitness attacks. The 2005 Carnegie attack was thoroughly investigated, but there's still some question whether it was a wolf or a bear attack. The consensus came down on the wolf side, but not everyone agrees with that conclusion. So, I guess it comes down to what you consider sufficient documentation.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 02-19-2010, 08:57 PM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Regarding even the better-documented historical accounts of European wolf attacks: serious suspicion has been raised about the identity of the attackers, as in many if not most cases, the culprit may have been feral dogs or wolf/dog hybrids rather than native wolves.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 02-19-2010, 10:50 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Seminole, FL
Posts: 8,230
I've heard, or maybe read, that Jack London offered a substantial cash reward for a proven case of a wold attack on a human being; supposedly the reward was never claimed. Is that a true story or not?

Please substitute "wolf" for "wold" in the first sentence.

Last edited by LouisB; 02-19-2010 at 10:52 PM.. Reason: A wold is not a wolf
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 02-20-2010, 11:34 AM
Knorf Knorf is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Willa Cather told a similar story in her 1918 novel My Antonia. In the book, two Russian brothers very sadly tell the story of a wedding held in one town in the dead of winter in the late 1800s; the bridal party gets in sleighs to go to the next town over for the feast. Wolves attack them and the party is picked off, or thrown out to divert the wolves, one by one, incl. the bride. Not pretty.
And almost certainly entirely fiction.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 02-20-2010, 03:51 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 49,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
And almost certainly entirely fiction.
I would not be surprised.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 02-20-2010, 05:06 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 4,331
Just a FYI, the brand new National Geographic (March 2010, my copy came in the mail this morning) has a cover story about the wolves re-introduced here in the Western US, and the conflicts between wolves and humans over the years...........
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 02-20-2010, 08:35 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Just a FYI, the brand new National Geographic (March 2010, my copy came in the mail this morning) has a cover story about the wolves re-introduced here in the Western US, and the conflicts between wolves and humans over the years...........
And it will be slanted towards the preservationists.

Go back a 15-20 years to the N-G magazine article about the Arctic Wolf. In the article the wolves were working a small herd of musk ox. All 6 calves were taken by the end of the article.
When I took my children to the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul the I-MAX theater was showing "The Arctic Wolf". When the film was finished all 6 calves were still standing and as the sheeple were clapping at the wonderful documentary, old Gbro was Booing. My brother in law was puzzled by this.
He has 30 years of National Geo. magazines in his den. That issue was missing from his vast collection, so I had to send him my copy from the large box of N-G's I have stored in the Shit House at the hunting shack.
And a fully functional Shit House it is
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 02-21-2010, 03:48 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Willa Cather told a similar story in her 1918 novel My Antonia. In the book, two Russian brothers very sadly tell the story of a wedding held in one town in the dead of winter in the late 1800s; the bridal party gets in sleighs to go to the next town over for the feast. Wolves attack them and the party is picked off, or thrown out to divert the wolves, one by one, incl. the bride. Not pretty.
If it isn't fictional/apocryphal I would say that incidents like this would involve a really large pack, and a famine season forcing them to prey on whatever they can ... and men move into an area and kill off the prey animals so the only prey left is man. Sort of a catch 22 for the poor wolves.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 03-12-2010, 08:23 AM
SoulFrost SoulFrost is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Nomadic
Posts: 1,634
Update: Alaskan Teacher Killed by Wolves--March 08, 2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by the article
Snowmobilers found her severely mauled body in a pool of blood and multiple wolf tracks in the snow, according to officials. The State Medical Examiner said the cause of death was "multiple injuries due to animal mauling."
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03-12-2010, 12:08 PM
gytalf2000 gytalf2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Oh, dear! How tragic!


I guess that they will help themselves to a human meal every once in a while...


I hope that she didn't suffer too much. What are the chances that they took her out almost immediately?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 03-12-2010, 12:17 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Up at CFS Alert they throw the garbage out in pairs - not only because of the extreme temps, but also because of the Arctic Wolves.

One new guy went out by himself and had to be rescued by another member wielding a shovel.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 03-12-2010, 12:29 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 49,446
For those following along at home, that's in northernmost Canada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFS_Alert
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 03-12-2010, 12:42 PM
HeadNinja HeadNinja is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro View Post
I was within 10 yard of a timber wolf with a loaded rifle!
Shit, they are more dangerous than I thought. If they learn to use a scope we're screwed.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03-12-2010, 01:33 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulFrost View Post
Although it's certainly possible, even likely, that she was actually killed by wolves, note that the evidence is circumstantial -- the article says the police says "It was heavily assumed" she was killed by wolves. The area had been abuzz with reports of wolf sightings and people talking about the possibility of wolf attacks (not unlike Salem, Massachusetts, once was abuzz with witch sightings).

It wouldn't be unimaginable that some clever human took note of the rising wolf-attack hysteria in the region, offed her, and literally threw her to the wolves, and they dragged off and mauled the corpse as part of their normal scavenging behavior. It wouldn't be unimaginable that the medical examiner might misread the autopsy as part of the "heavy assuming" going on.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 03-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 49,446
Sounds like it could be a good mystery novel.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 03-12-2010, 08:19 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 6,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
It wouldn't be unimaginable that the medical examiner might misread the autopsy as part of the "heavy assuming" going on.
Other options exist as well, such as the first attack being by a polar bear.

Many elements of that story seem fishy to me.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 03-12-2010, 10:51 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadNinja View Post
Shit, they are more dangerous than I thought. If they learn to use a scope we're screwed.
No we are wolf shit if they figure out how inept we are
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 03-12-2010, 11:39 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_joe View Post
In alberta at least they dont. I saw wolves and tracks all the time when I was in the bush. Alone so I would think that several wolves could have had thier way with me if they wanted. I did have some follow me though, especially when my dog was in season. Then they would get close enough pitch a rock at.
That's one determining factor in whether wolves will attack humans. Wolves will look upon dogs as something to mate with or competitors for their range. Humans who were accompanied by dogs were most likely to attract wolves, but even so, the wolves were out to drive the dog away or kill it, but not necessarily to attack the humans. If people get too close to a wolf den and cubs, the wolves are also more likely to attack in order to drive away what they perceive as a threat to their young. Wolves are generally more inclined to avoid humans under most circumstances, however, and don't normally prey upon us as a source of food.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:26 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
It wouldn't be unimaginable that some clever human took note of the rising wolf-attack hysteria in the region, offed her, and literally threw her to the wolves, and they dragged off and mauled the corpse as part of their normal scavenging behavior. It wouldn't be unimaginable that the medical examiner might misread the autopsy as part of the "heavy assuming" going on.
Oh come on.

It also wouldn't be unimaginable that if we had video of wolves mauling her, some posters would suggest the video was faked.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 03-13-2010, 11:16 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 49,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadNinja View Post
Shit, they are more dangerous than I thought. If they learn to use a scope we're screwed.
See the second painting here: http://www.wrmgraphics.com/page40.html
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 03-13-2010, 11:27 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
See the second painting here: http://www.wrmgraphics.com/page40.html
Damn!

Well, we had a good run...
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:25 PM
JoelUpchurch JoelUpchurch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel View Post
For contrast, there were 33 fatalities in 2007 alone from dog attacks, and an average of 4.7 million bite victims annually.
Of course, another big difference is that no one goes around training wolves to attack people. I read a book by Massad Ayoob many years ago and he expressed many reservations about owning an attack trained dog. He was much more positive about owning a watchdog, but even in that case proper training is important. You should also approach it with an attitude closer to adopting a child than getting a biological alarm system.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:26 PM
Pedro Pedro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel View Post
For contrast in how likely it is for an average person to be attacked. Theoretical circumstances have nothing to do with the actual incidence. The fact of the matter is that dogs are more likely to be a danger to people than wolves. Yes, sometime in the future, if wolf numbers are high enough or more people suddenly start to come into close contact with wolves, I would expect there to be a problem. But in the real world, right now, you're far more likely to be killed by a dog than to even encounter a wolf, much less be attacked by one.
That is a completely meaningless and completely annoying use of statistics. You cannot compare likelihood of attack or dangerousness from incidence like that.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 03-14-2010, 07:40 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro View Post
You cannot compare likelihood of attack or dangerousness from incidence like that.


Surely comparing the incidence of occurrence within the population is the only way of determining likleihood.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:24 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 29,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
Other options exist as well, such as the first attack being by a polar bear.
There are no polar bears within 500 miles of Chignik Lake where the mauling took place.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.