Are Humans really Apex predators?

If a human went one on one with a bear or a lion we’d be killed every time. The only reason we’re the master species is because we have artificial weapons (unlike something like a snake’s venom or a tiger’s teeth and claws which are pedigree weapons).
In fact I’m amazed humans didn’t go extinct 10,000 years ago before we invented weapons.
Should we really be called Apex predators?

Apex predator is a concept to do to with eco-system analysis, and humans have a very varied participation in a multitude of eco-systems, so the answer is “kinda, but sometimes not”. It’s also used more colloquially, and then the definition is vague and this becomes a GD question rather than a GQ one.

I think humans are Apex Predators because we:

  • have intelligence leading to tool making and weapons
  • are social animals, leading to team hunting
  • can communicate, leading to planning

So even early man could pick up a tree branch and make a club.
One man wouldn’t face a lion alone - there would be a group all armed with spears.
We could defeat dangerous animals by destroying their eggs or building a trap.

Humans and their predecessors are more adaptable and clever than the rest of the animal kingdom.

We will eat just about anything, breed like rabbits and work in packs. We were able to use tools and wear furs to overcome our natural disadvantages too.

Where people and lions live together, mostly we killed the lions to protect our sheep. In most ecosystems, we have been apex predators for the reasons glee mentions. But what is the intent of the question?

We’ve had the sort of weapons that made us apex (stone-tipped spears) a lot longer than 10,000 years…theypre-date our species.

The snake’s weapon is venom. The tiger’s weapon is teeth & claws. The human’s weapon is brain and physical endurance.

Deciding that it’s cheating for the human to use his brain & pick up the club is the same as deciding the tiger is cheating when he pounces or bites.

Deciding the human is cheating when he uses his endurance or teamwork to run a gazelle into the ground is the same as deciding the snake is cheating when he uses venom to subdue a larger rodent prey.

This http://xkcd.com/1338/ explains clearly the actual ecosystem prevalence of various creatures. You will immediately apprehend that humans and their chattel creatures are substantially the entire land ecosystem. We ate, or are eating, the whole pie, not just most, or a small piece of it. The whole damn thing.

By any reasonable definition of “apex predator” at the ecosystem level, we are not only it now, but are by far the most extensive example of it the planet has seen in the billion-ish years since multicellular life emerged.

Pack hunting with a spear is as natural to a human as a snake’s venom or a tiger’s teeth.

The fact that we have the intelligence to communicate, innovate, our create using our brains and hands (which are “pedigree weapons” as you appear to define them) then yes, we are apex predators.

“Artificial” is an artificial term. It’s not like some ringmaster dropped all the guns and knives in the human camp and none in the others. Tools is tools, whether you find them or make them, and we all use 'em: if a tiger can use tall grass and ambient noise as tools to mask his approach, then I can use a blunderbuss as a tool to blow a hole in his rib cage before he gets his paws on me.

I agree, we aren’t apex predators. Real apex predators don’t whine about fairness.

Can I describe Humans as “Eco-vores”?
We devour & consume whole ecologies…

It’s The Matrix, man! Humanity is a VIRUS! (I’m not at all sure that that’s not true).

Bingo! Saying human beings have an unfair advantage because of our tools is exactly like saying saying snakes have one because of their venom and tigers have one because of their claws and teeth.

We invented weapons a LOT earlier than 10,000 years ago. Tool-using is a feature not only of every H. sapiens on the planet, but also an integral feature of our immediate predecessor species. The Schöningen Spears have been dated at 300,000 years and are described as comparable to modern javelins, showing signs of extensive working to control the balance of the weapons. In other words, they are clearly an example of a well-developed technology. They were made by the predecessors to the Neanderthals.

So this notion that human-made weapons are somehow “unnatural” or “artificial” is bogus - it is perfectly natural for hominids to make and use weapons, just as they make and use other tools.

We also live/hunt in something more like a wolf-pack than as single predators, and thus should not be evaluated as one-on-one but group-on-one because that is how we would encounter such apex predators as lions and tigers and bears. Wolves don’t confront bears one-on-one, they do it as a group. Humans are the same (at least until we get higher power weapons like reliable firearms).

A bear vs an f-15 will lose every time

But what about a bear in an F-15?

What we really need to fear are tyrannosaurs in F-14s.

I’d say Apex predator is not right because we need a new word above that. A predator so successful that it completely dominates and transforms the global environment to its own advantage. Ecovore is pretty good. Incidentally this isn’t a new thing. There is evidence that Australian aborigines were radically changing the environment in Australia over 20,000 years ago, using controlled fires to create grass lands that were better for their hunting than dense dry broadleaf forests.

I have never killed or eaten an Apex. You’d be hard pressed to show that I prey on them.